Khabib Nurmagomedov
The Eagle


Confirmed off UFC 249
April 1, 2020
Nurmagomedov confirmed Wednesday via a personal Instagram post that he will not be fighting at UFC 249 on April 18.
This had essentially already been confirmed Tuesday when Nurmagomedov confirmed via Instagram live that he was back home in Russia, and alluded to being unable to fight with the country on lockdown due to COVID-19. The UFC already has moved on and offered Tony Ferguson a fight against Justin Gaethje, but it's still unclear whether both parties are in agreement. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov is set to observe the Ramadan, which begins April 23 and ends approximately May 23. Nurmagomedov has historically not competed or trained over that time, as the holiday requires fasting from sunrise to sunset, and continuing to train would increase his injury risk. Look for Nurmagomedov to ramp things back up after that, which would position him for a late-2020 title defense. Whether or not that would be against Ferguson remains to be seen.
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Status for UFC 249 in doubt
March 30, 2020
Nurmagomedov said Monday in an Instagram Live chat that he remains locked down in Russia, putting his availability in doubt for an April 18 lightweight fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
The UFC is aware of Nurmagomedov's status, and the indefinite timeline for Russia to open its borders has prompted the promotion to explore alternative options to fight Ferguson. According to Helwani, Justin Gaethje has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Nurmagomedov, but no agreement has been finalized. President Dana White has yet to decide on a location for UFC 249, but the promotion remains determined to hold the event.
UFC 249 plans progressing
March 24, 2020
UFC President Dana White told Brett Okamoto of ESPN on Monday that the scheduled UFC 249 title fight between Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson has a location that is "99.9 percent done."
Nurmagomedov's title defense against Tony Ferguson was originally scheduled for April 18 in Brooklyn, but with the state having some of the highest reported number of cases of COVID-19 in the country, it was essentially inevitable that the event would need to be relocated. While the UFC has cancelled multiple events preceding UFC 249, White has been adamant all along that this highly-anticipated event will be taking place. Not only is he dialing in a location, but White told Okamoto that the undercard will be normal, as opposed to something abbreviated that many have speculated. Despite the logistical challenges, this is a step in the right direction for Nurmagomedov's chances of making his third title defense. He currently sits as approximately a (-290) betting favorite for this matchup.
Title defense still on
March 16, 2020
UFC President Dana White said on Sportscenter on Monday that the scheduled UFC 249 matchup between Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will still happen, Brett Okamoto of ESPNreports.
"Whatever it takes" is how White described it during the Sportscenter appearance. The UFC appears content to do this with no crowd, and White acknowledged it probably won't even happen in the United States (it was originally scheduled for Brooklyn, NY). The company did announce Monday that it would be postponing its next three events due to concerns and limitations surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, but all indications suggest this card will still take place. As of Monday afternoon, Nurmagomedov is approximately a (-290) betting favorite for the matchup.
Upcoming title defense unclear
March 15, 2020
Nurmagomedov is facing a potential relocation of his scheduled lightweight title defense against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
Originally scheduled for Brooklyn, Helwani reports that it's "unlikely" this event will take place in either New York or Las Vegas. The UFC has already cancelled Saturday's event in London and is attempting to relocate it, along with other upcoming events scheduled for Portland or Columbus. UFC 249 appears to be in a similar boat, though it's unclear if the promotion will be able to find a suitable location. Should a location be found, Nurmagomedov currently sits as a (-290) betting favorite for the matchup.
Defending title in April
November 30, 2019
Nurmagomedov will fight Tony Ferguson to defend his lightweight title April 18 in Brooklyn, reports.
This is the fifth time the two fighters have scheduled a bout, as each one pulled out of the fight twice before. Nurmagomedov, 31, has won 12 straight fights, and Ferguson has the exact same streak.