Gaethje replaces Nurmagomedov in UFC 249 main bout

Highly-ranked Justin Gaethje will be replacing Khabib Nurmagomedov in the upcoming UFC 249 (

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

For the fifth time in the history of the UFC, the most-awaited clash between top lightweight contender Tony Ferguson and reigning and defending lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t be happening.

After Nurmagomedov expressed having trouble in traveling due to border restrictions and quarantine in Russia, he then followed it up that if Dana White will still push through with the bout on April 18, 2020, he will not fight.

White and the UFC management then said that they will still go through with the event despite the COVID-19 pandemic that urged Nurmagomedov to withdraw from the fight.

Running out of options, White then tapped the attention of highly-ranked lightweight Justin Gaethje which the latter readily agreed to albeit on short-notice, replacing the champ in the process.

A dismayed Ferguson felt like Nurmagodemov was running away from him, but the champion was quick to reply that he won’t be risking his life just for a bout.

Also, Nurmagodemov expressed that White and his staff were slow to decide regarding the venue where both parties agreed that it will happen in a safe and secured area as observance for COVID-19 safety measures but White was not able to update the Russian slugger.

UFC 249 will feature a 12-fight card but there is still no definite venue on April 18, some say it will take place on Barclays Center in Brooklyn, others say at the Tachi Palace Resort and Casino in Lemoore, California.