That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who addressed the title unification bout during an appearance on ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Tuesday.
While no date is set just yet, White speculated that the highly anticipated showdown between Nurmagomedov and Gaethje will go down this summer once both fighters are ready to compete again. Gaethje became interim lightweight champion this past weekend following a grueling battle with Tony Ferguson while Nurmagomedov is currently observing Ramadan, although he’s speculated at a return to action as early as July.
“I expect [Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje] to happen this summer,” White said. “I don’t know if it will be the first one but it will be on ‘Fight Island’ unless miraculously the world comes back together faster than I think it’s gonna.”
The UFC is currently building the infrastructure on “Fight Island,” which is supposed to be a destination for international fight cards for athletes who are unable to get into the United States due to travel restrictions as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
White has said that “Fight Island” will feature a full training facility as well as an arena where events can be held with a targeted start date for the shows in June.
With Gaethje just engaging in a war with Ferguson this past Saturday night, it’s unlikely he’ll be ready to face Nurmagomedov as soon as “Fight Island” is up and running. But it appears that will be the location for the title fight.
Still fired up after a day of Twitter barbs directed at Nurmagomedov and Gaethje, former two-division champ Conor McGregor pounced on the chance to insert himself into the conversation.
Super excited for the LW Title bout in July!— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 12, 2020