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Khabib to begin ‘hard preparation’ for UFC 254 in September

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Khabib Nurmagomedov will start preparing for Justin Gaethje in September for UFC 254.

UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Is Khabib Nurmagomedov leaving his training camp for UFC 254 a little bit late?

The reigning UFC lightweight champion announced on social media on Sunday that he will begin ‘hard preparation’ for his title unification bout with interim lightweight titleholder Justin Gaethje in September, just one month before the matchup is scheduled to take place.

“It will be hard preparation, in September we will be together with the @akajav. Miss you, coach,” Nurmagomedov posted yesterday.

Khabib, who is undefeated at 28-0, hasn’t fought since his submission win over then-interim lightweight champ Dustin Poirier at UFC 242. ‘The Eagle’ hasn’t been training in recent weeks due to the tragic passing of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, last month.

Gaethje, the former WSOF lightweight titleholder, is riding a four-fight win streak and fresh off his TKO victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. ‘The Highlight’ has finished his last four fights via stoppage and is considered one of, if not the, most dangerous fighters in the division.

UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje is scheduled to take place on October 24 at a TBD location, with UFC president Dana White hinting that the highly anticipated lightweight title unification bout will take place on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.