Khabib Nurmagomedov is open to defending his lightweight title against Tony Ferguson but would prefer to do it at a later date.
According to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, Nurmagomedov "is hopeful the fight could be rebooked as early as August" if it does not take place as scheduled on April 18 at an undisclosed location.
The matchup at UFC 249 was originally meant to happen in New York, but the coronavirus pandemic nixed that.
The undefeated 31-year-old posted a lengthy Instagram caption on Wednesday:
"Staying home in quarantine and reading the reaction of people to the situation around my fight, it turns out that the whole world should be in quarantine, governments of all countries, famous people around the world urge people to follow all safety requirements in order to limit the spread of the disease, to save people, and Khabib is the only one relieved of all obligations and must demonstrate free will and train flying around the world, for the sake of fight?
"I understand everything and I’m definitely upset more than you to cancel the fight, probably like all others, I had many plans after the fight, but I can’t control it all. The greatest countries and the largest companies of our time are shocked by what is happening, every day the situation changes unpredictably.
"But Khabib still has to fight, is that what you saying? Take care of yourself and put yourself in my shoes."
Nurmagomedov is stuck in his native Russia due to travel bans associated with the coronavirus, but Ferguson is not accepting that as an excuse:
Tony Ferguson @TonyFergusonXT
April 18 Is Getting Close @TeamKhabib & You’re Hiding In Russia. Travel Bans Will Not Prevent Me From Whoopin’ That Ass. Don’t Use It As An Excuse To Back Out. You Have Been Sent Many Locations, Send Us 1. Still My Bitch #DefendorVacate MF ⚾️ -CSO- 🇺🇸🏆🇲🇽 #ufc249 @ufc @danawhite https://t.co/TVQH4mnG2e
Nurmagomedov said during an interview with Okamoto on Wednesday that Ferguson is "just a stupid guy," among other things:
Nurmagomedov is 28-0-0 with eight wins by knockout. He last fought on Sept. 7, 2019, defeating Dustin Poirier in a third-round submission.
Ferguson is 26-3-0 in his career, but the 36-year-old American is riding an 11-fight winning streak with 12 overall wins by knockout. He last defeated Donald Cerrone by technical knockout in the second round on June 8, 2019.