UFC president Dana White has mapped out the short-term future of the lightweight championship by revealing that Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov will unify the lightweight division in September, with the winner fighting Conor McGregor somewhere down the road, possibly at the start of 2021.
Gaethje, 33, set up that unification bout with Khabib by defeating Tony Ferguson for the interim belt at the rescheduled UFC 249 last weekend.
Ferguson was initially scheduled to fight Khabib, but the bout, once more, was cancelled owing to the champion being stranded in Russia.
The fight has been pencilled in to take place on Dana White’s newly-acquired ‘Fight Island’ whilst McGregor’s anticipated return is set to happen at the same venue.
Of McGregor’s future fighting for the belt, White told Tim & Sid, as per The Sun: “I actually talked to Khabib today, Khabib told me he’d be ready in September.
“Earlier today, I had said [he could fight] this summer, because we were texting back and forth last night and it sounded to me like he was ready to go, but he’s said September.
“Obviously I don’t know what the world is going to look like in September, but I assume it’s still going to be hard to get people in and out of the country so I am definitely thinking it’s going to be on Fight Island.
“Obviously Gaethje and Khabib is going to happen, looks like that’s going to happen in September. And we’ll figure out what’s next for Conor.
"Conor will probably fight this summer, then you have [Gaethje-Khabib] fight in September, and then that will line up a fight up for the winner.”
The rematch between Khabib and McGregor, UFC’s most bought PPV card, has renewed optimism and remains hotly anticipated after the continuous verbal sparring over social media.
The latest of which came after McGregor predicted Nurmagomedov would “bottle” out of the upcoming clash with Gaethje.
Notorious claimed that should this happen, he would swoop in and claim the interim belt from the American in September.
However, the UFC chief is adamant that the lightweight division will be unified and McGregor will have to look elsewhere for his opponent.
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