When will UFC return? If it was up to UFC president Dana White, there wouldn’t be a return. As in, the company would have still held every event on its schedule with no breaks. Fortunately (or not depending on your IQ), there has been a government / corporate mandated break in the promotion’s schedule, resulting in at least six UFC events getting postponed.
One of those events was UFC 249 on Aril 18, 2020, originally set to feature Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson. That fight fell apart after Khabib was denied entry to the United Arab Emirates, where he was told 249 would happen. He’s now stuck in Russia, where there is currently no flights in or out of the country. But with Dana White declaring Fight Island a very real thing and implying he’d be getting things running again next month, could we see Khabib then?
Every year we need to remind people that Khabib is a devout Muslim who observes Ramadan, a religious practice running from April 23 to May 23 that involves fasting from sunrise to sunset. Nurmagomedov has also stated he needs another 45 days after that to recover to a point where he’s able to train at UFC caliber levels. Because of this he always plans his fighting schedule carefully ... unfortunately Coronavirus doesn’t care about anyone’s best laid plans. Now that fighting this weekend is impossible, Khabib is looking to his next originally scheduled fight date in September.
”September is not so far away, although it’s hard to believe that everything will end by September. “But still one serious person said: that in peacetime it is necessary to prepare for war.”
Khabib has taken an, ‘It is what it is’ approach to this whole mess from the moment he got stuck in his homeland with no way to his fight. It’s undoubtedly helped keep him sane as things outside his control continue to buttf**k the world, but of course there’s a segment of the online MMA community that took it as a sign that he never wanted to fight Tony Ferguson in the first place and a bunch of other silliness. Anyone that doubted his readiness to fight this Saturday night (if anyone would just send him location) can peep his Instagram, where each image of Khabib has him covered in more sweat than you’ve probably generated in all of 2020.
This latest casual confirmation that he won’t be back til September (if that, given the pandemic) is sure to cause even more anger and calls for him to be stripped of his belt. With Dana White in such a froth to get going again, we don’t doubt UFC will end up creating an interim Lightweight belt at the least. But let’s just be clear: Khabib has been steady like a rock through all of this. None of this is Khabib’s fault — he’s been training hard. Khabib will continue to fight on Khabib time.