UFC president Dana White has put the final nail in the coffin of lightweight champion Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov fighting at UFC 249 on April 18. The Eagle was scheduled to fight the No. 1 contender Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson, but because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the fight has been on shaky ground for weeks.
Last week, Khabib, who is currently in Russia, said he was willing to fight Ferguson but he needed the UFC to figure out the logistics of him leaving the country, as well as tell him where the fight would take place.
Dana White confirmed that Khabib is officially out of the fight, and that he will confirm the entire fight card tomorrow. It’s unclear if White will announce where UFC 249 will take place.
His answer came as a reply to a fake post from a Twitter account pretending to be ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. White tweeted:
White’s tweet reads, “Absolutely NOT true!!! The card is happening but [Khabib Nurmagomedov] is out. I will announce the entire card tomorrow.”
With Khabib officially out of the fight with El Cucuy, this marks the fifth time a bout between them has been scheduled and canceled.
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The Main Event May Feature Tony Ferguson Fighting Top Contender Justin Gaethje
If Tony Ferguson wants to fight and the UFC chooses to keep El Cucuy on the April 18 card, he may find himself in the Octagon with the No. 4 ranked lightweight, Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje. Ariel Helwani confirmed last week that the UFC was considering The Highlight as a replacement option for Khabib.
It’s unclear at the moment if their fight would be for an interim lightweight belt or not.
The Main Event Could Be a Grudge Match Between Two Top Welterweight Fighters
The promotion may decide to preserve the fight between The Eagle and El Cucuy, and reschedule it at a later date. If that’s the case, a possible main event could feature two top welterweights.
When the UFC announced that March 21’s London event was moving to the United States, headliner Leon Edwards, who lives in the UK, confirmed that he wouldn’t be able to fight against fellow welterweight Tyron Woodley.
After Edwards was out, Woodley and Colby “Chaos” Covington took to Twitter to promote a fight. The two have had bad blood for years, and a fight between them has been a match fans have been clamoring for. However, the March 21 event was officially postponed by the UFC when the White House recommended public gatherings of no more than ten due to the coronavirus.
When news hit that Khabib may be out of the fight with El Cucuy, both men angled to fight each other in a new main event match. There is a chance that the UFC has put this fight together, and the top welterweights will finally meet in the Octagon.