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Khabib wants Ferguson this August if UFC 249 falls apart: ‘Nobody wants this fight like I want this fight’

UFC 249 Khabib v Ferguson: Press Conference Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

The powers that be are exhausting all options to keep UFC 249 on schedule later this month, but the probability of the pay-per-view (PPV) card going on as planned is getting slimmer by the day.

Whether it’s been the coronavirus outbreak, widespread panic and quarantine, heavy border restrictions, location issues, or main event uncertainty, UFC 249 has encountered every possible obstacle you could ever imagine. But instead of cancelling the event like most other major sports organizations are doing, UFC president Dana White is desperately trying to stage the event in its entirety.

After all, the anticipated main event clash between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is staring down its fifth overall cancellation.

Luckily for fight fans, this entire UFC 249 debacle isn’t taking away from the bad blood between Khabib and Ferguson. They may not have the same view on the current situation preventing them from squaring off on April 18th, but that doesn’t mean the two lightweights aren’t thinking about rescheduling their meeting (again).

Nurmagomedov, who is having more trouble than Ferguson preparing for UFC 249 due to the fact that he’s currently stranded behind Russian borders, is already discussing a new date for a clash with “El Cucuy.” If the two streaking stars are unable to lock horns in two weeks then Khabib would like to see the fight re-booked for this summer.

“June, July, two months, then August I can fight,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN, mentioning his impending two-month break from fighting due to Ramadan. “I hear the UFC wants to make a show in San Francisco [in August]. If not, let’s fight in Abu Dhabi middle of September. Or fight now, before Ramadan. April 18, we’re supposed to fight, but where? This is the question.”

Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been scheduled to fight four times before, but botched weight cuts and freak injuries have prevented the two from meeting inside of the Octagon. It has become one of the most elusive fights in all of combat sports and a major reason why White and company are pushing so hard to make UFC 249 work.

But considering fight fans have waited this long for the lightweight grudge match a few extra months shouldn’t sting too bad, especially if UFC is unable to safely and fairly host UFC 249 later this month.

“I believe we’re going to fight, I swear to God,” Nurmagomedov said. “I don’t know, but I have a feeling we’re going to fight. Just wait. We’re going to fight. I really believe nobody wants this fight like me. I swear. Nobody wants this fight like I want this fight.

”UFC tried to make [a McGregor rematch]. I tell them, ‘This guy don’t deserve it. Bye-bye.’ I can make with this chicken five times more money than with Tony Ferguson, and you know most people, they don’t know about Tony Ferguson. A lot of people want to watch name versus name. This is not about skills versus skills. Very small people understand this. This is why I take this fight, because of legacy. I chose this fight. I really want to fight right now, this is not my mistake.”

As of now, UFC is entertaining potential replacements for Khabib if UFC 249 goes down as scheduled and “Eagle” is unable to fly the coop. Justin Gaethje would be the favorite to step up and challenge Ferguson on just two weeks notice. If “Highlight” was able to upset Ferguson at UFC 249 it would surely throw another wrench into any future Khabib vs. Ferguson matchup.

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