Khabib Nurmagomedov is in control of his own MMA future. When you’re 28-0 and the reigning UFC lightweight champion you tend to have that type of freedom.
With the ball in his court, “Eagle” is hoping to land in Brooklyn early next year for a long-awaited clash with Tony Ferguson. The two lightweights have tried to come together a total of four times in the past, but injuries and botched weight cuts have prevented the fight from ever happening.
Now, after taking out Dustin Poirier via third-round submission back at UFC 242, Khabib is focusing on another title defense against “El Cucuy.” While nothing is set in stone, it’s likely that Nurmagomedov gets the date and location he’s asking for.
As you may have guessed, Khabib is not looking to return to Las Vegas for the fight.
“Even if they (Vegas) apologize or not, we found a new venue for the fight,” said Nurmagomedov in a recent interview in Uzbekistan (shown below). “It’s going to be in Brooklyn most likely, I’m not sure about the date yet. We’re still discussing it with the UFC but it looks like it will happen at the beginning of April.”
“Even if they(Vegas) apologize or not,we found a new venue for the fight. It’s going to be in Brooklyn most likely,im not sure about the date yet.We’re still discussing it with the UFC but it looks like it will happen at the begining of April.”— ➡️ (@MMARusContext) November 21, 2019
Khabib’s interview in Uzbekistan. pic.twitter.com/qpGPMzeWLL
Nurmagomedov, 31, is unwilling to fight in Las Vegas again after his scuffle with Team McGregor at UFC 229 back in 2018. The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) ended up coming down pretty hard on the Russian champion for his role in the infamous post-fight brawl, handing him a nine-month suspension and $500,000 fine. After that type of treatment no wonder “Eagle” doesn’t want to fly over Sin City anytime soon.
If Nurmagomedov sticks to his guns and isn’t swayed by UFC officials to have his next title fight in Vegas, Brooklyn is about to get the fight it was expecting at UFC 223 in early 2018. Nurmagomedov was supposed to take on Ferguson for the vacant UFC lightweight championship, but a freak injury during fight week nixed the matchup and Al Iaquinta stepped in on short notice. Khabib would end up defeating Iaquinta via unanimous decision to claim the 155-pound title.
Only time will tell how this entire booking situation plays out, but at least all parties involved are trying to get this fight done and not getting trapped into a Conor McGregor rematch.