Dana White: Abu Dhabi could host Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC unification bout

UFC president vows to 'keep educating the world on what an incredible destination for fights' the UAE is

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UFC president Dana White said Abu Dhabi will continue to host "massive fights" and that a Khabib Nurmagomedov unification bout could take place in the UAE.

On Saturday, all eyes turn to Jacksonville, Florida, as UFC 249 becomes the first major sporting event to take place in the United States since the coronavirus outbreak.

Headlining the event will be Tony Ferguson's lightweight bout with Justin Gaethje and defending UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo's fight with Dominick Cruz.

Ferguson was originally set to face undisputed champion Nurmagomedov on the original April show in Brooklyn before the coronavirus crisis forced its cancellation.

Nurmagomedov, currently stuck in Dagestan due to travel restrictions in Russia, is now being lined-up to face the winner of Ferguson-Gaethje.

"I don't know what the landscape is going to look like when Khabib's ready to fight. I don't know who is going to win this Saturday that will face Khabib next," White told UFC Arabia.

"We will have to see how this thing plays out. It could be in Abu Dhabi, it could be anywhere.

"We are going to just keep putting on massive fights in Abu Dhabi and keep educating the world on what an incredible destination for fights it is.

"For people from America, Australia, the UK, or wherever it might be, being a fight fan, you have to check out a fight in Abu Dhabi at some point.

"Get there, take in the culture, stay in the gorgeous hotels, eat in the unbelievable restaurants, it is truly a great destination for fights.

"We have a five-year deal with Abu Dhabi for fights in the Middle East. I have an incredible relationship with Abu Dhabi.

"Any opportunity that I can get to do an event in Abu Dhabi, I will be there. It is a very well-educated market, fans love the sport, they get the sport, they support the sport."

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Dana White, president of the UFC, speaks at a news conference after the UFC 229 mixed martial arts event in Las Vegas. The UFC is determined to fight on amid the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. The UFC hasn't canceled any competitions, even those previously scheduled for areas where large gatherings are now banned. White attributes his decision to go against the sports world's collective mindset partly to a conversation Thursday, March 12, 2020, with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.  (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
Dana White, president of the UFC, says he will 'keep putting on massive fights in Abu Dhabi'. AP

First up, though, is UFC 249 and White is confident that fans are in for a treat.

“The thing to watch for most is the main event. If you cannot make Ferguson vs Khabib, the fight you make is Ferguson vs Gaethje," White said.

"I absolutely, positively guarantee you the main event is going to be ridiculous. I promise.

"Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz; [Francis] Ngannou vs [Jairzinho] Rozenstruik is a ridiculous heavyweight match-up. Jeremy Stephens and Calvin Kattar is just incredible. I mean I can just keep going.

"This is one of the best cards we have ever put together. And I guarantee you that the main event will blow your mind."

UFC 249 is available for fans in the UAE to watch via the UFC Arabia app. The main card kicks off at 6am, Sunday May 10.