Khabib Nurmagomedov might be accessible to return earlier than many anticipated after he was unable to struggle Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.

The extremely anticipated light-weight title struggle between Nurmagomedov (28-Zero MMA, 12-Zero UFC) and Ferguson (25-Three MMA, 15-1 UFC) was scratched for a fifth time because of the coronavirus pandemic. “The Eagle” returned to his native Dagestan when the unique April 18 was up within the air, and he’s been unable to go away since because of journey restrictions.

Within the aftermath of all that, Ferguson was booked to struggle Justin Gaethje for the interim light-weight belt on the postponed UFC 249 card, which takes place Saturday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Area in Jacksonville, Fla., and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.

UFC president Dana White has stated the winner of the interim title bout will unify later this 12 months, pointing to September or October as potential date as soon as Nurmagomedov completes observing Ramadan. The champ has a distinct concept, although, and stated he’s might be prepared as quickly as July.

“I can struggle anytime, Ramadan finishes Could 23,” Nurmagomedov wrote on Instagram. “July I’m gonna be prepared. Cease speaking about me, that is coronatime, when Khabibtime comes I smash all of them.”

Nurmagomedov has been the recipient of some backlash within the weeks since asserting he couldn’t struggle. Some have blamed him for taking a misstep in leaving the U.S., whereas the likes of Ferguson have known as for him to be stripped and to retire from MMA.

From all appearances, although, Nurmagomedov remains to be very a lot targeted on preventing. He’s posted photographs and movies proving he’s nonetheless coaching, and there’s little doubt he shall be conserving a eager eye on what goes down between Ferguson and Gaethje on Saturday.