Exclusive: Dana White insists Khabib Nurmagomedov v Tony Ferguson and UFC 249 'will happen'

UFC 249 has had to be moved from its original location at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 18 because of the coronavirus outbreak

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - September 07, 2019: Lightweight title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov (black shorts, winner) and Dustin Poirier in the main event at UFC 242. Saturday the 7th of September 2019. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

UFC president Dana White has reiterated that next month’s much-anticipated clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will go ahead, saying “everywhere is an option” for the fight to place.

UFC 249, which the bout headlines, has had to be moved from its original location at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 18 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Last week, the UFC cancelled its next three shows leading up to UFC 249, although White has been steadfast in insisting Nurmagomedov-Ferguson - sure to be one of the year's most watched events - will still happen.

The UFC is currently assessing possible venues for the lightweight title fight, with unbeaten champion Nurmagomedov's father and coach last week suggesting Abu Dhabi was an option.

However, White told The National: "We do not have a location set for UFC 249. I'm focused all day every day to find a venue. Everywhere is an option for this massive fight including international locations or potentially Las Vegas. It's my only priority to find a location. This fight will happen."

Nurmagomedov, who boasts a 28-0 record, last fought in September, when he successfully defended his lightweight crown by defeating Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. The Dagestan native, now 31, won his second defence of the lightweight crown by a third-round submission at The Arena on Yas Island. He moved to a 12-fight win streak in UFC.

Ferguson, meanwhile, is also enjoying a 12-fight unbeaten run stretching back to 2012. His most recent victory came last June against Donald Corrine.

Now the No 1-ranked challenger, Ferguson holds a 25-3-0 record. The pair have been set to meet four times previously, but the fights never materialised.

Last April, Abu Dhabi announced a five-year partnership with the UFC, including a commitment to bring a major event to the capital each year. Attended by close to 14,000 fans, UFC 242 was the first in that agreement. The promotion will return to the emirate later this year.

_______________________________

Best pictures from UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi

EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS