Earlier this week, the UFC began looking for a replacement for Khabib Nurmagomedov to face Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18 after travel restrictions prevented Nurmagomedov from leaving Russia. Nurmagomedov posted on social media that he was continuing to train but expected the fight promotion to move on with our without him.
“Currently, I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day,” Nurmagomedov said. “Although I don’t know what am I preparing for because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked. Same as in the States, the same as in Europe, Emirates, everywhere. The whole world is in quarantine right now.
“So now I am hearing that they are looking to organize it with or without me.”
With Nurmagomedov on lockdown in Russia, Justin Gaethje was reportedly offered the opportunity to step in and face Ferguson, but on Wednesday, new developments may allow Nurmagomedov to make the April 18 date and face Ferguson as planned.
It was revealed that even with the travel restrictions in place, private flights from Russia to the U.S. were permitted.
“In order for Khabib to be able to fly to the United States in a private jet, the company whose services he intends to use must obtain permission to fly from Russia and to arrive in the United States,” the Federal Air Transport Agency said to local Russian media outlets. “There are no restrictions for business aviation on departure from Russia.”
With the event 17 days away, it remains unclear where it will take place or if Nurmagomedov will be on the fight card.