Khabib Nurmagomedov aiming to have his UFC return in Abu Dhabi

Russian hopes his first match back since being banned after controversial win against Conor McGregor will be in the UAE

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov holds the trophy belt during a news conference in Moscow, Russia. Khabib Nurmagomedov said Tuesday April 2, 2019, he doesn’t think Conor McGregor’s retirement is for real, adding, “I don’t think he’s finished.” (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, FILE)

Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced he and the UFC are in talks to hold an event in Abu Dhabi in September.

The UFC Lightweight champion has not fought since his controversial victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229 last October.

But the 30 year old, who has a perfect record of 27 wins from 27 fights in mixed martial arts, told journalists on Tuesday in Moscow that he believed he was close to having a fight in the UAE's capital organised.

Responding to a question by reporters about if rumours of a match in the UAE were true, Nurmagomedov said: "Yes, we are working on it.

"UFC told me they are working on this. I just came back from Dubai. And very soon news is coming. Very soon."

Nurmagomedov believes he will fight in the UAE against either Max Holloway or Dustin Poirier, who are due to face off or the interim lightweight title at UFC 236 on April 13 in Atlanta in the United States.

"They are fighting for the interim belt, and the champion has to face the interim champion. Tony Ferguson can't fight at the moment, (Georges) St-Pierre is retired, McGregor is retired, a boxing match with (Floyd) Mayweather is not happening as we couldn't come to an agreement with UFC.

"Holloway and Poirier are great fighters, I will fight the winner of this bout."

Nurmagomedov had visited the UAE in October, making an appearance at Arabian Gulf League side Al Wahda's Al Nahyan Stadium.

An Abu Dhabi Sports Council official, who wished not to be named, said they were not aware of any current negotiations for an UFC event in the UAE, but will consider any approach for permission if one is made.

Nurmagomedov is currently serving a nine-month ban for his part in a brawl post-match after he had defended his title with a fourth-round submission victory over McGregor in October.