According to UFC president Dana White, Khabib Nurmagomedov could fight Justin Gaethje in September despite the recent death of his father.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died earlier this month following complications caused by the coronavirus.
He died aged 57, whilst his son has been pretty much silent on social media ever since.
However, White is hoping that Khabib vs Gaethje will headline UFC 253 at the sport’s Fight Island on September 19.
Speaking to the media about Khabib, White said: “I’m leaving him alone until he’s ready to talk. I reached out to him the day of and I haven’t heard back from him since.”
When questioned about the potential fight against Gaethje, White said: “I don’t think it’s off the table. I’m just waiting to hear from him.”
‘The Eagle’ hasn’t fought since his victory over Dustin Poirier back in September 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which took his UFC record to 28-0 (8 KOs).
Meanwhile, potential opponent Gaethje stepped in for Khabib at UFC 249 to face American Tony Ferguson. He beat Ferguson via TKO to set up a potential title shot against Khabib.
The Russian had to pull out of the event as a result of travel restrictions, which were implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic. It took place behind closed doors in Jacksonville, Florida, back in May.
If the Khabib vs Gaethje bout goes ahead, the latter will likely go into the Octagon brimming with confidence. He’s on a four-fight winning streak after beating the likes of Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza and, of course, Tony Ferguson.
However, Khabib has been a dominant champion since winning the UFC Lightweight championship two years ago and will probably be the favourite to retain his belt going into the fight.
Despite the saddening loss of his father, we could still see ‘The Eagle’ return to the Octagon later this year.
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