Khabib Nurmagomedov fight announcement completes stunning UFC schedule
Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his UFC lightweight title against Justin Gaethje on October 24 – completing a mouthwatering trio of fights this autumn.
Nurmagomedov, who lost his father to coronavirus earlier this month, has not fought since he submitted Dustin Poirier last September.
He was due to defend his 155lb belt against Tony Ferguson in April but was unable to travel to the United States due to the pandemic.
Instead, Ferguson was beaten by Gaethje who became the interim champion, setting up a shot at Nurmagomedov in the process.
The 'unification' clash was initially pencilled in for September but has now been pushed back a month.
Announcing the fight, UFC president Dana White told CNN: "It's going to happen, tell you right here right now. That fight is going to happen.
"It's been very rough on him. His father was a hero to him, he loved his father, they had a very close relationship and it was very hard on him."
White did not announce a venue for the clash but it will likely either take place in Las Vegas or Abu Dhabi where the UFC has just completed a two-week, four-card stretch.
And despite his retirement earlier this year, Conor McGregor will likely have at least one eye on the fight with a view to taking on the winner either later this year or early in 2021.
Nurmagomedov vs Gaethje will follow hot on the heels of another mouthwatering title fight when Israel Adesanya defends his middleweight crown against undefeated challenger Paulo Costa.
The fight has not yet been officially announced but is expected to take place at UFC 253 on September 19 in Las Vegas.
And a month earlier, heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will complete his trilogy with Daniel Cormier as the pair bid to settle their rivalry following two enthralling clashes.
That fight will headline UFC 252 in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on August 15.
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