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3 Apr, 2020 09:57

'People are stupid if they think I can just call Putin and Trump': Khabib maintains he has no way out of coronavirus lockdown

'People are stupid if they think I can just call Putin and Trump': Khabib maintains he has no way out of coronavirus lockdown

Khabib Nurmagomedov has branded people "stupid" if they think he can simply pick up the phone to call Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump and arrange a flight to the US to face Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.

UFC lightweight champ Khabib is currently in lockdown in Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has almost certainly put paid to his chances of facing Ferguson in their long-awaited title showdown on April 18.

There has been talk that Khabib, given his status, could still arrange a private flight out of Russia, should the UFC find a definite location for the fight.

Also on rt.com 'Send me location!' Khabib breaks silence on UFC 249 cancelation during McGregor-gatecrashed Instagram Live (VIDEO)

But Khabib has given that idea short shrift, stating again that he sees no point leaving his homeland when he still has no idea where the bout could feasibly take place.  

"I want to fight too, this is a dream fight, but don’t me tell I have to fly to nowhere," Khabib said in an interview with ESPN

"Fly to the US? For what? Come to Russia. Why are you hiding in the US? It’s the same thing.

"If they say we have a show, OK, let’s go.

"But even if I want, right now I cannot go from Russia, I cannot go into the US.

"People don’t understand a lot of things, they just talk…"

Khabib undoubtedly has friends in high places in his homeland, having been granted a personal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after his victories against both Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. 

It's even believed that Putin provided Khabib with his number and said he could "call him any time." 

But the lightweight ruler said his star status does not mean he could flout stringent border controls in place in Russia and beyond. 

"Because I’m the champion they have to give me a private plane?" Khabib said. 

"I have to call Vladimir Putin, I have to call Donald Trump? Please give me a plane?

"People are so stupid. Right not, we talk about thousands of people dying.

"It’s too much crazy stuff, it’s like a movie."

Khabib signaled earlier this week that his April 18 showdown fight with Ferguson - which has fallen through on four previous occasions - had finally succumbed to an inevitable fifth cancellation due to the coronavirus outbreak ravaging the globe.  

Also on rt.com 'August or September': Khabib gives update on next possible date for Ferguson fight

Khabib quit his California training camp last month as the US went into lockdown, initially heading to Abu Dhabi after he says the UFC told him "99 percent" that the fight would be there.

However, the Russian star and his team were not even allowed into the country, instead flying back to Dagestan, where he remains stranded.

Khabib said restrictions were such that he was confined to his village and cannot even head into the nearest city. 

The 31-year-old grappling phenom said however that he is continuing to train and has been in fighting shape since December, and hinted that even at this late stage he would be willing to fight Ferguson, but is completely in the dark as to where that might be.

Conor McGregor accuses Khabib of 'chickening out first,' congratulates Tony Ferguson after breakdown of UFC 249 main event

He added that he would be ready to face Ferguson in August, should the April 18 fight inevitably and conclusively be called off. 

Meanwhile, the UFC are said to be looking at alternative opponents for Ferguson, including longtime lightweight contender Justin Gaethje.