UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s return to the cage will come on October 24th, where he will be matched with interim UFC Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje. The matchup was announced in an interview conducted by CNN with UFC President Dana White on Tuesday.
The matchup will see Nurmagomedov look to retain his 155-pound belt for the third time in his career, with previous defences having come against Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
Prior to COVID-19 drastically changing UFC’s schedule, Nurmagomedov was set to defend his title against Tony Ferguson in April at UFC 249. Due to travel restrictions, Nurmagomedov could not come to the United States, ruling him out of competition temporarily.
In May, Ferguson was matched with Gaethje to find an interim lightweight title holder. Gaethje prevailed, finishing Ferguson in the fifth round with strikes at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
Earlier in July, Nurmagomedov lost his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov due to a positive COVID-19 infection. His father, who passed away at 57, was a large influence on his career, often being in his corner during UFC fights.
“It’s been very rough on him … This guy [Khabib], his father was a hero to him,” UFC President, White, told CNN on Tuesday.
The location for the October 24th event is currently not known.