Earlier this week there were reports that Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov (28-0) would be unable to attend UFC 249 for his fight against Tony Ferguson (25-3) due to Russian travel restrictions. Unfortunately, the UFC Lightweight Champion has now confirmed it.
Taking to Instagram on Wednesday, Khabib announced that his fight with Ferguson has, in fact, been canceled. He said that while it was within his power to break quarantine and fight, it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.
“…famous people around the world urge people to follow all safety requirements in order to limit the spread of the season, to save people,” Khabib wrote. “And Khabib is the only one relieved of all obligations and must demonstrate free will and train flying around the world, for the sake of [the] fight?”
The undefeated UFC Lightweight Champion called on his fans to put themselves in his shoes and understand that he “can’t control it all.”
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 1, 2020
This marks the fifth time that the Khabib-Ferguson fight has been canceled. But the first four times the fight was canceled was a combination of injuries and illness. It’s the first time that one of the two fighters has pulled out despite being healthy.
In the interim, there are reportedly plans to hold the main event of UFC 249 without Khabib. Lightweight contender Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (21-2) has been named as a potential replacement.
One day the long-awaited Khabib-Ferguson fight will take place. But it won’t be this April.