Khabib Nurmagomedov hits the road as lightweight champion trains for UFC 254 showdown with Justin Gaethje

The undefeated lightweight champion takes on interim title-holder in the headline bout on October 25, with Abu Dhabi expected to host

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Khabib Nurmagomedov is putting in the hard yards ahead of his much-anticipated return to the octagon next month.

The undefeated lightweight champion, 31, takes on interim title-holder Justin Gaethje in the headline bout at UFC 254 on October 25, with Abu Dhabi expected to host. The UFC have yet to confirm its location.

Nurmagomedov has not fought since UFC 242 in the UAE capital last September, when he defeated then interim champion Dustin Poirier by third-round submission at The Arena on Yas Island. It took the Dagestan native's professional mixed martial arts record to 28-0.

Nurmagomedov's unification clash with Gaethje will mark the first time he competes since the death of his father in early July. Abdulmanap

Nurmagomedov, who also served as his son’s long-time coach, died from heart complications arising from contracting Covid-19. He was 57 years old.

Although there were rumours that Khabib Nurmagomedov had since contemplated retirement, he is said to be eyeing at least two more fights: Gaethje next month and then maybe former two-division champion Georges St Pierre in April.

With Gaethje his sole focus at present, Nurmagomedov has been chronicling his training on Instagram. In his latest post, published early on Tuesday, the unbeaten Russian is seen running towards the mountains back home, with the countdown to his comeback clocked at 54 days.