01 Jan Dana White: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje lightweight title bout set for Oct. 24
The highly anticipated UFC lightweight title unification bout is set to go down in the fall, according to Dana White.
The UFC president told CNN’s Don Riddell that lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will return to the octagon to face interim title holder Justin Gaethje on Oct. 24.
“It’s going to happen, tell you right here right now. That fight is going to happen,” White said.
“Khabib vs. Gaethje, October 24.”
Nurmagomedov’s future seemed uncertain following the death of his father Abdulmanap, who passed away due to COVID-19 complications earlier this month. White has been asked about the undefeated fighter’s status multiple times and, understandably, wanted to give the lightweight champ as much time as he need to get over a tragic time in his life.
“It’s been very rough on him,” White explained “His father was a hero to him, he loved his father, they had a very close relationship and it was very hard on him.”
“The Eagle” has won all 28 of his professional fights – 12 of which took place in the UFC. Nurmagomedov captured the vacant title with a unanimous decision win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Since then, the 31-year-old successfully defended his belt with submission wins over Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
After dropping the first two fights of his career, Gaethje bounced back in a big way with four consecutive finishes ahead of his biggest test to date. “The Highlight” picked up first-round stoppage wins over James Vick, Edson Barbosa and Donald Cerrone to earn an opportunity to face Tony Ferguson for the interim 155-pound title at UFC 249. Gaethje would stop Ferguson in the fifth round to capture his first UFC belt.
As of now, no location for the event has been announced.