Khabib is BACK! Nurmagomedov set to make his UFC return against Justin Gaethje on October 24
UFC president Dana White has announced the return date for undefeated Russian UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov, with the reigning lightweight champion set to face interim champ Justin Gaethje on October 24.
Nurmagomedov has been forced away from active competition, initially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, then following the tragic death of his father and coach Abdulmanap following complications arising from contracting the coronavirus.
But now it seems "The Eagle" is ready to return to defend his 155-pound title, with UFC president White revealing to US news outlet CNN that the Russian star will face Gaethje on October 24.
"It's been very rough on him," White told CNN Sport.
"His father was a hero to him, he loved his father, they had a very, very close relationship and it was very hard on him."Also on rt.com 'I would do anything he wanted to do': UFC boss Dana White prepared to give Khabib FREE REIN to pick final career opponent
Nurmagomedov hasn't competed since his submission victory over Dustin Poirier last September. A planned fight with Tony Ferguson in Brooklyn in April was scuppered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and eventually Khabib's spot was taken on the rearranged card by Gaethje, who defeated "El Cucuy" to capture the interim title and put himself next in line for the undisputed title.
Now White has gone public on the eagerly-awaited matchup and announced the date in emphatic fashion.
"It's going to happen, tell you right here right now," White declared.
"That fight is going to happen. "Khabib versus Gaethje. October 24."Also on rt.com 'It's my duty to see it through': Khabib meets Dagestani leaders to discuss late father Abdulmanap's sporting legacy