On Wednesday, the UFC lightweight champion officially confirmed he would not compete at the April 18. Nurmagomedov revealed in an Instagram Live video on Monday that he was in Russia, where the borders were closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Despite the disappointment amongst fans, and himself, the fight between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson has suffered its fifth setback.
McGregor took to Twitter on Thursday morning to give his reaction to how Nurmagomedov handled the situation.
I am in shape to fight right now!— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 2, 2020
At the beginning of all this, I said to myself - I’m happy I don’t have an official fight booked. If I did, I would have consumed all the incorrect data to support me taking part in the bout, and I would have followed through, competed. And won.
The fact of this matter is, both Tony and Khabib where engaged in a game of chicken here towards the fight bell. With Khabib chickening out first. Making it 3-2 in pullouts in Tony’s favour. Khab scurried out of the U.S to home, and amid the crisis. Very high risk.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 2, 2020
“The fact of the matter is, both Tony and Khabib were engaged in a game of chicken here towards the fight bell, with Khabib chickening out first making it 3-2 in pullouts in Tony’s favour,” McGregor said. “Khabib scurried out the US to home, and amid the crisis. Very high risk.
Of course, there is no love lost between McGregor and Nurmagomedov. Prior to UFC 223, McGregor created a wild scene of the event’s media day and attacked a bus with was carrying the UFC lightweight champion. “The Notorious” would hurl a dolly through a bus window, causing two fighters to be removed from the card, along with several others shaken up.
The build up to the showdown between Nurmagomedov and McGregor at UFC 229 in October 2018 was, at times, uncomfortable. In the end, “The Eagle” submitted McGregor in the fourth round before a post-fight melee transpired in and out of the Octagon.
Ferguson seems to be on the same page as McGregor, questioning his rival’s decision making in leaving the US to head back to his native Russia. In an interview with ESPN following the news of UFC 249 taking another hit, “El Cucuy” called for Nurmagomedov to be stripped of his title.
The UFC is trying to book a fight between Ferguson and Justin Gaethje to headline the April 18 event, but as of now, there is no main event — or location set — for UFC 249.