Dana White says he is NOT confident Khabib-Ferguson showdown will happen this year
Speaking to fans during an 'Ask Me Anything' Q&A session on the popular website Reddit, White was pushed on the status of what is the most anticipated fight in mixed martial arts currently.
Of course, Khabib-Ferguson should have played out several times before. Both men have pulled out of previous fights on two occasions due to injury, while the most recent attempt to finally lock the two lightweight standouts in a cage with one another earlier this month was waylaid by a global pandemic.Also on rt.com 'Our neglect has helped the disease spread': Khabib issues plea for fans and fellow Dagestanis to heed coronavirus lockdown advice
As such, and with fate seemingly conspiring against him, White says that he isn't confident that the fight will be re-booked anytime soon.
"Not very [confident]," White responded. "I’m afraid of what will happen next if we try to make that happen again."
White also stated during the session that his inability to hold this fight is his biggest regret as UFC president to date, given that he has invested significant time, money and energy into booking the showdown since 2015 - only to be continually pushed back for a multitude of reasons.
Instead of Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson is slated to face fellow lightweight contender Justin Gaethje as the headliner of the UFC's May 9 card in Florida, which remains intact despite the on-going coronavirus crisis in which the United States is the most-affected nation on earth.Also on rt.com 'If he says we're fighting Conor, then we're fighting Conor': Manager says Khabib's dad has last word on '$50m McGregor rematch'
Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, is content in his decision to withdraw from the fight after he remained stuck in lockdown in Russia, and in any case pointed out that he had not been given a destination to fly to.
On Thursday, The undefeated Russian fighter posted a picture to Instagram showing him and his American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez and captioned the image by saying how effective his training camp for the nixed Ferguson fight had been.
"It was the best training camp," Khabib wrote of his preparations for the ill-fated Ferguson fight. "I haven’t felt myself that good for a while, but we’ll get ready for come back even better."
Those words can be taken that Nurmagomedov has a sense of optimism that the Tony Ferguson fight can be rescheduled (again). Dana White has previously stated that September or October would be the most likely return date for Khabib - but the identity of the other man in the cage on that particular date remains a mystery.
Tony Ferguson is the obvious contender, should he get past Gaethje next month, but it seems that Dana White is nervous to even tempt fate by attempting to put this fight together for a sixth time - at least before discussing the issue with NASA to ensure that there aren't any asteroids careening our way, or any other events which could trigger a sixth cancellation of the most-wanted fight in UFC history.