Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his UFC lightweight title against interim champion Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on Oct. 24, says UFC president Dana White.
White confirmed the bout in an interview with CNN Sport’s Don Riddell. The promotion officially announced the match up a few hours later. With Riddell White also admitted the death of Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, has been difficult on “The Eagle”.
KHABIB. GAETHJE.— UFC (@ufc) July 28, 2020
For legacy and for gold. pic.twitter.com/VLIHFgHeqQ
“It’s going to happen, tell you right here right now. That fight is going to happen,” White asserted. “It’s been very rough on him... 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 is a perfect 28-0 in the UFC, last defeating Dustin Poirier via third-round submission to successfully defend his championship. Gaethje (22-2) roared ahead as the division’s most dangerous juggernaut after knocking out James Vick, Edson Barboza and Donald Cerrone en route to a dominant round five finish of Tony Ferguson to claim the interim UFC lightweight title.
White would not confirm a host city or venue for UFC 254.