Khabib Nurmagomedov’s career was up in the air following the death of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, due to coronavirus complications. There were questions whether Nurmagomedov would ever return to the cage, but now we have our answer.
According to UFC president Dana White, the lightweight champ is expected to return in the fall for a title unification bout against interim champ Justin Gaethje.
Per White, the fight will take place in October.
“It’s going to happen, tell you right here right now. That fight is going to happen,” the UFC boss told CNN’s Don Riddell. “Khabib vs. Gaethje, October 24.”
White also explained the importance of giving Nurmagomedov time to grieve before he returns to action.
“It’s been very rough on him,” White said “His father was a hero to him, he loved his father, they had a very close relationship and it was very hard on him.”
Nurmagomedov had his most recent outing at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi where he defeated Dustin Poirier to retain the lightweight championship via third-round submission.
With the win, Khabib advanced to 28-0 in his professional career. His 28 consecutive wins gives him the longest winning streak in all of mixed martial arts. Khabib first won the vacant lightweight championship on April 7, 2018 at UFC 223 when he scored a dominant decision win over Al Iaquinta in Brooklyn, New York. He became the first Russian to win a UFC title. The submission victory over Poirier was his second title defense. Nurmagomedov’s first title defense was a submission victory over Conor McGregor in October 2018.