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28 July 2020 22:49

Khabib versus Gaethje, Oct. 24." Earlier this month, Nurmagomedov's father, Abdulmanap, died following complications related to COVID-19.

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When Justin Gaethje stepped in to replace Khabib Nurmagomedov against Tony Ferguson in May, a long-awaited lightweight title clash ended up scrapped--again--and Gaethje emerged as UFC interim lightweight champion with a lopsided victory over Ferguson. Instead of Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson, the lightweight fight to book became a title unification with lightweight champ Nurmagomedov squaring off with new interim lightweight champ Gaethje. That fight now has a date. Speaking with CNN, UFC president Dana White confirmed a date for the lightweight unification bout, though a location and venue have yet to be determined.

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A short time later on Tuesday, the UFC confirmed the lightweight title showdown as official. "It's going to happen, I tell you right here right now," White said. "That fight's going to happen. Khabib versus Gaethje, Oct. 24." Earlier this month, Nurmagomedov's father, Abdulmanap, died following complications related to COVID-19. Despite the circumstances surrounding the loss of his father, friend and trainer, White said the lightweight champion will be ready to step back into the Octagon later this year.

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"It's been very rough on him," White said. "His father was a hero to him, he loved his father, they had a very close relationship and it was very hard on him." Abdulmanap had mentioned a plan in the past for Nurmagomedov to retire with a 30-0 professional record. A victory over Gaethje would move him to 29-0 and one fight away from the goal. White, speaking with ESPN earlier in the week, said that he would be open to letting Nurmagomedov hand-pick his final opponent before his potential retirement--even if that meant a fight with UFC legend Georges St-Pierre. "At the end of the day, the Conor McGregor [rematch], I know Conor has wanted that fight since the last one [in October 2018]," White said.

"That's a fight to make, but I don't know. We'll see how this plays out. Sure, [I would be open to St-Pierre] if it's his last fight. This guy's been great to the company, great to the sport. I like Khabib a lot. I would do anything Khabib wanted to do." Please enable cookies on your web browser in order to continue. The new European data protection law requires us to inform you of the following before you use our website: We use cookies and other technologies to customize your experience, perform analytics and deliver personalized advertising on our sites, apps and newsletters and across the Internet based on your interests. By clicking "I agree" below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms. See our Privacy Policy and Third Party Partners to learn more about the use of data and your rights. You also agree to our Terms of Service. The UFC fight fans expected for moths is finally happening. Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will take on interim champion Justin Gaethje on Oct. 24. UFC president Dana White confirmed the news on CNN on Tuesday, saying, "That fight's going to happen." White then said the two would fight Oct. 24 at UFC 255. White did not announce where the fight would be held. It will be the 31-year-old Nurmagomedov's first fight since September, when he defeated Dustin Poirier. The win pushed Nurmagomedov's record to 28-0-0. Gaethje, 31, fought in May, beating Tony Ferguson in the fifth round. The win pushed Gaethje to 22-2-0 in UFC. Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight for first time since father's death The fight will also mark Nurmagomedov's fight time in the Octagon since his father, Abdulmanap, died. Abdulmanap, 57, died of coronavirus complications in July. White told CNN Abdulmanap's death was "very hard on [Khabib]." Abdulmanap was also Khabib's trainer. More from Yahoo Sports: