Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje to headline UFC 249 after Khabib withdrawal

Tony Ferguson will take on Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 on April 18 for the interim lightweight title.

Ferguson had been due to challenge 155lb champion Khabib Nurmagomedov but the Russian was unable to secure a flight out of his homeland and withdrew from the fight last week.

It was the fifth time a fight between the two rivals had been cancelled with injury and illness preventing them meeting in the octagon previously.

Gaethje then stepped in at three weeks' notice knowing victory would catapult him to the top of the list of challengers for the 155lb belt.

UFC president Dana White confirmed the fight was agreed but did not announce a venue.

UFC 249 was initially due to take place in New York but the city, along with much of the world, has been in lockdown for several weeks.

The winner of the fight will expect to take on Nurmagomedov later in the year.

The Russian was under pressure to leave his homeland last week in order to fight Ferguson, but eventually pulled the plug.

He said: "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?

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