UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is reportedly training alone in the gym ahead of his fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.
The growing concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus have resulted in some pretty drastic measures. For example, recently the state of New York recently imposed a ban on all large events and the UFC was forced to cancel their next 3 events.
UFC president Dana White has assured the fans that despite the turmoil, UFC 249, which is headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, will still take place on April 18 as planned. He also said that the event is likely to moved to a location outside of the US. Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov recently suggested that the event will be moved to Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
Additional precautions are also being undertaken at the American Kickboxing Academy, where Khabib Nurmagomedov trains. His head coach Javier Mendez revealed during a recent interview with ESPN that the UFC lightweight champion has been training in the gym by himself in order to avoid unnecessary contact with others:
“Just Khabib. That’s it. Nobody else is allowed. No one is coming. Just Khabib. We’ve gotta keep it safe for him.” Mendez said.
Despite the uncertainty over UFC 249, Mendez says that Khabib Nurmagomedov is still training with full focus and will be ready to fight Tony Ferguson or any other contender if something happened to Tony:
“Khabib expects to fight somebody if something happens to Tony, he expects to fight somebody. One top guy. Whatever. And then he’ll go back after Tony. That’s the way he looks at it. He’s expecting to fight. It’s not like, ‘Tony is out; forget it I’m not fighting.’ He’s training to fight somebody. It’s not like he has it in for Tony. He doesn’t have it in for Tony. [Ferguson is] a top guy. He’s the very best right now that he could face. So that’s why [Khabib] wants to face him.”
Javier Mendez also gave us a small insight into the lightweight champions training camp, revealing that he training with fellow Dagestani fighters in UFC lightweight Islam Makhachev and PFL lightweight Islam Mamedov, as his main sparring partners. He also has Saygid Izagakhmaev and Tagir Ulanbekov training with him.
Mendez is the only coach in the gym at this time and they are trying to keep Nurmagomedov’s contact with other people as limited as possible. When asked if Mendez believes that UFC 249 will go ahead he said the following:
“I don’t know. I know Dana will do everything in his power to make it happen, but I don’t know if he will make it happen. I can’t say for sure he will. I’m not sure if they can pull it off, because [White] can’t control governments. I want it to happen, obviously. Nobody gets paid if nobody goes to work.”
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 19th March, 2020.