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UFC 249: Khabib expects Ferguson fight to be scrapped

New York, March 31: Khabib Nurmagomedov expects his proposed fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 to be postponed for a fifth time due to the coronavirus pandemic. The unbeaten UFC lightweight champion, however, claimed promoters are trying to schedule a fight for Ferguson “with or without him”. Nurmagomedov, who has a 28-0 record, was originally scheduled to face Ferguson in New York on April 18, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the event was forced out of the Barclays Center. The UFC president Dana White was forced to hold UFC Brasilia behind closed doors and cancel the next three cards.

He, however, remained confident Nurmagomedov’s meeting with Ferguson will go ahead, even if it has to be moved from Brooklyn to a different country. Amid doubts about the event being held, Nurmagomedov, who is in his native Russia, revealed he was told that he would still face Ferguson in Abu Dhabi, but now believes the UFC are planning the card without one of their most high-profile fighters. “Now I am hearing that they are looking to organise it with or without me. Okay, go ahead,” Nurmagomedov said on an Instagram live chat. “Everyone should follow the laws. I am not against it, I know that fighters need to feed their families and pay their bills. I know how hard it is for the fighter. Unless they fight they aren’t getting any money.

“I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony, because he is in the States and I am here in Russia. But I am here not on my own will.” He added: “The UFC told me that this fight 100 per cent isn’t happening in the USA, and even if it’s not happening in the Emirates it will happen on this side of Atlantic. We discussed everything with the UFC. “Now I don’t really know what’s going on. It’s really hard to train and cut your weight when the whole world is locked down and you don’t know what you are preparing for.

But it’s not the first time I face obstacles in my career.” This time the fight may be in doubt due to the coronavirus, but on the previous four occasions Nurmagomedov and Ferguson fights were forced to be cancelled due to health or fitness issues. Ferguson accused Nurmagomedov of using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to avoid him, writing on Twitter: “April 18 Is Getting Close @TeamKhabib & You’re Hiding In Russia.