For the past few days, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, has received some unwarranted criticism for pulling out of his title fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18, 2020. In fact, Ferguson even called for “The Eagle” to be stripped of his title.
But according to the reigning 155-pound champion, he never actually pulled out of the fight. To hear Khabib tell it, he hasn’t been told where UFC 249 is set to take place, leaving him in limbo just like everyone else. But once UFC finds a location, he is ready to fight if the powers that be in Russia allow him to fly out.
“Right now, if they give me location and I can come out of Russia and go to any country, U.S.A., Abu Dhabi, doesn’t matter — I am going to fight, 100 percent. Just give me location. Everyday I send Dana White a message. You know? This is not my mistake, just give me location,” Khabib said in a recent interview with ESPN.
Nurmagomedov flew to Abu Dhabi from San Jose, Calif., once he received word that the fight could take place there. Once that was no longer an option, he flew home to Russia to be with his family. But after Vladimir Putin closed the country’s borders, “The Eagle” was grounded.
That said, there is no sense for Nurmagomedov to start making his case to Putin and Co. for a flight out of Russia if he doesn’t know where he is flying off to.
“There’s too many crazy stuff and I don’t have answer. I understand people are upset because this fight, it’s like a dream fight for fans. This is my dream fight. I lose money, so much money. Nobody lose like I lose. I lose so much things.”
We’re 16 days out from the scheduled event, and Dana White has yet to reveal exactly where the fight will take place. So if you as a fan is frustrated, just imagine how Tony and Khabib are feeling at the moment.
Still, Nurmagomedov is ready to fight, but reiterated that if he doesn’t make it to UFC 249, it’s through not fault of his own.
“I want to fight. That’s why I took this fight. Because this is hard fight, this is legacy fight. This is number one fight for fans, biggest fight in UFC right now. Of course I can choose easy fight against chicken, but I choose hard fight. But everything can happen and I can not control this.”