Earlier this week news broke that undisputed UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had received his next challenger and a date had been set for the contest.
According to UFC President Dana White ‘The Eagle’ will face interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Gaethje on October 24th at UFC 254. Gaethje earned his shot at the Dagestani after defeating Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 in May.
Gaethje bested Ferguson by fifth round TKO in a match where he was a late replacement, filling in for Nurmagomedov—who had been grounded in Russia thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The scheduling of this bout was a surprise to some. Nurmagomedov recently lost his father Abdulmanap, an icon of Dagestani and Russian combat sports, to COVID-19. The promotion had signaled that they did not expect their champion to return anytime soon and that they would not put any pressure on him to do so.
But it seems Nurmagomedov is eager to compete before the end of the year.
With the next lightweight title fight seemingly set, now is the time to wonder who will win such a battle. Will it be the undefeated 28-0 Nurmagomedov, who has easily handled most the opponents he has faced, or will it be Gaethje, a 22-2 fighter who is known for bloody all-out wars and has shown an indifference—or possible desire—to get hit?
Check out the video above to see Combat Culture’s Case Harts break down the contest and talk through all the intriguing angles at play in this upcoming fight.
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