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Mon 30 Mar 2020 06:00 PM

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Khabib Nurmagomedov says UFC 249 '99%' likely to be in UAE

UFC president Dana White said last week that the fight would go ahead, but would be without fans

Khabib Nurmagomedov says UFC 249 '99%' likely to be in UAE

Khabib was in the UAE recently, about to get ready for the fight, but soon returned Russia because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Russian UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has revealed that the upcoming UFC 249 is '99 percent likely' to take place in the UAE.

In an Instagram Live chat from his hometown in Dagestan, Khabib admitted that the event could take place without him due to a lockdown in Russia.

UFC 249 was due to take place on April 18 at the Brooklyn Centre in New York, and feature Khabib against Tony Ferguson in a long-awaited fight that has been cancelled four times before.

Khabib was in the UAE recently, about to get ready for the fight, but returned to Russia because of the coronavirus lockdown.

“The UFC told us that the fight 100 percent isn't happening in the States. And they said that 99 percent that it will happen in Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi,” Khabib said, speaking on Instagram Live.

"After talking to the UFC we decided to fly over to the Emirates a month before the fight. I don't remember the exact date, it was 19th or 20th, I'll have to check. But when we landed in Emirates we learned that they are going to close borders. And no one will be able to leave or fly in, with exception for residents.

"So we had to fly back to Russia. Currently I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day. Although I don't know what am I preparing for. Because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked. Same like in the States, same like in Europe, Emirates, everywhere. The whole world is in quarantine right now."

UFC president Dana White said last week that the fight would go ahead, but would be without fans.

“I do (know where it is)," White said on Instagram Live.

“But I'm not ready to tell you yet. I know lots of things. There's not going to be any fans there. It's going to be a closed event.”

Khabib said that UFC 249 is likely to go ahead without him.

“So now I am hearing that they are looking to organise it with or without me. Okay, go ahead,” said Khabib.

“I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony, because he is in the States and I am here in Russia. But I am here not on my own will.

“The UFC told me that this fight 100 percent isn't happening in the USA, and even if it's not happening in the Emirates (UAE) it will happen on this side of Atlantic. We discussed everything with the UFC.

“Now I don't really know what's going on. It's really hard to train and cut your weight when the whole world is locked down and you don't know what you are preparing for. But it's not the first time I face obstacles in my career.”

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