White announces date for Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje
Earlier this year, after Gaethje took the interim lightweight title in May by defeating Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, the plan was to have him fight Khabib in September.
But, due to the tragic passing of Khabib’s father Abdulmanap earlier this month, from COVID-19 complications, it became unclear when the champ would fight again.
“It’s going to happen, I tell you right here, right now,” White said. “That fight’s going to happen: Khabib vs. Gaethje, October 24.”
The location for the fight has yet to be finalized. But, unless Khabib is planning to return to the U.S., one would think Yas Island, where the Fight Island cards have been held, is most likely.
So, obviously this his huge news (it should be noted that the CNN report stated the fighter’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, couldn’t be reached for comment). Following the passing of Khabib’s father, there were a lot of people, including Daniel Cormier, who opined that the champ wouldn’t fight in 2020.
Some even wondered if Nurmagomedov would fight again, period.
The timing of this bout also has interesting implications for the rest of the lightweight division. There was always a good chance that even if Khabib and Gaethje had fought in September, that neither man would compete again this year.
But, with an October 24th date now set, it seems very unlikely that we will see the winner fighting again, in say, December. So, if by chance, the retired Conor McGregor was thinking about returning for a New Year’s Eve title shot, that plan will likely get punted.