UFC 249: Justin Gaethje Issues Challenge to Khabib Nurmagomedov After Defeating Tony Ferguson

Justin Gaethje defeated Tony Ferguson during the main event of UFC 249 on Saturday night. He secured a victory via TKO and proclaimed he was ready for another challenge, one that is even bigger. He told the UFC world that he wants to face off with Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Speaking with commentator Joe Rogan in the middle of the octagon, Gaethje said that there is "no other challenge" that he wants right now. He is prepared to face off with the undefeated Nurmagomedov. Gaethje is currently on a four-fight winning streak and has accumulated a 22-2 record in his career. Fighting Nurmagomedov would give him the opportunity to secure the lightweight title.

"Khabib is the best in the world," he said during the post-fight interview. "I've been working since I was 4 for challenges like this. I'm happy to represent the United States of America against Dagestan — or Russia's best. He's 28-0, and there's no other challenge I want right now. I want to fight him."

Nurmagomedov is the current lightweight champion and has successfully defended his title twice. However, he hasn't fought since 2019. He was previously scheduled to face off with Ferguson during UFC 249, but a travel ban kept him in Russia. Gaethje was the replacement for the main event, and he has now potentially set up a title fight.

Nurmagomedov has since responded to the challenge. He filmed a video and said that he is ready. He just needs Gaethje to let him know where the fight will be taking place. He is willing to take on the new contender, whether it's in the United States or in Russia.


"I'm here. Send me [a] message, like location, location," Nurmagomedov said. "I'm gonna come anywhere you want. [It] doesn't matter. Iowa, New York, Brooklyn or Moscow. [It] doesn't matter. Tell me where."

Whether or not this fight takes place is unknown, but many UFC fans would like to see it happen. If Dana White agrees, the only questions would be when and where. Nurmagomedov has been observing Ramadan while remaining in Russia, but it will end in May. He posted on Instagram that he will be ready to compete once again in July. At that point, he says that it will be "Khabibtime" and that he will "smash" all competitors.