Khabib to face Gaethje on return, say reports - GulfToday

Khabib to face Gaethje on return, say reports


Khabib Nurmagomedov will lock horns with Justin Gaethje before the end of the calendar year, according to media reports.

Rejecting rumours of Khabib Nurmagomedov retirement, the Russian wrestler’s manager has confirmed that the UFC Lightweight Champion will lock horns with American Justin Gaethje before the end of the calendar year.

Putting all speculations to rest, Ali Abdelaziz, who manages both Khabib and Justin, said the undefeated world champion will return to the ring and has not retired following the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.

Instead he confirmed Khabib will come back from a period of mourning and return to action against the current interim champion by the end of 2020, according to media reports.

Abdelaziz told TMZ Sports: “Khabib is not retiring. Khabib, you know, he has some goals, he has some things to accomplish.”

“We have a blockbuster main event (Khabib) versus Gaethje. Two of the best lightweights in the world today in the recent era,” the TMZ report added.

There have been questions about Khabib’s fighting future ever since his father passed away from COVID earlier this month.

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov wasn’t just Khabib’s father — he was also his coach, mentor and best friend.

Speaking on Nurmagomedov’s imminent future, Abdelaziz said: “I’m sure Dana’s (White, UFC president) going to let everybody know when is Khabib going to fight.

“We see what Justin (Gaethje) did to his last opponent. He dismantled Tony Ferguson, he made him look an absolute amateur.”

Abdelaziz said it was “Dana White’s job” to announce fights, but he did confirm it will be this year.

He said: “This is Dana White’s job, he’s the promoter, I don’t want to speak on his behalf, but you will see Khabib before the end of the year.

White should be the one delivering the news. It’s not my position to tell you, but everything is lovely, and you’ll see Khabib and Justin fighting before the year for sure.”

Khabib last fought in September 2019 in Abu Dhabi, successfully defending his title against Dustin Poirier and has been left “heartbroken” by the death of his father.

He was due to put his title on the line again in a fight with Tony (Ferguson) in April but was unable to leave Russia due to the pandemic.

White, in a recent interview, stated: “I don’t think it (Khabib’s return) is off the table. I’m just waiting to hear from him. I’m not messing with Khabib.

“I am leaving him alone until he’s ready to talk and letting him mourn and do what he has to do. I reached out to him the day of. I haven’t heard back from him since.”

If Khabib is ready to roll at that time, then a title unification bout against Gaethje will be the plan. Khabib has been perfect in his pro MMA career, going 28-0 up to this point, according to a MMA news report .

Gaethje has looked better than ever in his last four outings. “The Highlight” is on a four-fight winning streak, stopping Tony Ferguson, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Edson Barboza, and James Vick in that span.


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