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UFC news, rumors: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson targeted for April date in Brooklyn

The long-awaited fight between UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson has a new target date — and seemingly a bout agreement signed by the champ. On Monday evening, Nurmagomedov manager Ali Abdelaziz tweeted a photo of an agreement signed by the champ, naming the date and location of the clash.

“Here we go,” the tweet read. “The champ signed his bout agreement against Tony Ferguson. This man has been asking for this ass whooping and now he has earned it. April 18th The Eagle will land in Brooklyn one more time. This one is for the fans.”

UFC president Dana White confirmed the date and location — Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York — to ESPN on Monday.

This will be the fifth time the two fighters have been matched up, with all four previous attempts having fallen apart. A Nurmagomedov injury tanked the first fight, the second was scrapped due to a Ferguson lung issue, a bad Nurmagomedov weight cut led to a last-minute cancellation the third time around and, most recently in April 2018, Ferguson tore his fibular collateral ligament in a freak accident while on set for a media event prior to their planned UFC 223 fight in April 2018.

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Nurmagomedov (28-0) has won 12 fights in the Octagon, winning the then-vacant lightweight title with a win over Al Iaquinta in April 2018, where he was originally supposed to meet Ferguson. He has successfully defended the title twice since becoming champion, submitting Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

Ferguson (25-3) is riding an incredible 12-fight winning streak. Nine of those wins have come via stoppage, and a title shot has seemed inevitable should he and Nurmagomedov finally make it to the Octagon on the same night.

More UFC news, rumors

  • On Jan. 18, former UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis will drop back to 155 pounds after a two-fight stint at welterweight, according to MMA Junkie. Pettis (22-9) will face off with Diego Ferreira (16-2). Pettis jumped to welterweight after more than two years of trading wins and losses at lightweight. After losing to Nate Diaz in his most recent fight, he has decided to move back down in weight where Ferreira and his five-fight winning streak await.
  • Paige VanZant is set for her return to the Octagon, according to MMA Fighting. VanZant (8-4) will fight fellow strawweight Amanda Ribas (8-1) on March 14 in Brazil. The fight marks the final bout on VanZant’s current UFC contract. She snapped a two-fight losing skid in her most recent bout, a second-round armbar of Rachael Ostovich. Ribas is riding a three-fight winning streak, most recently dominating Mackenzie Dern in October to take a wide decision victory.
  • Following hip surgery, former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier told MMA Fighting he is targeting a return in March or April. Poirier said he’d prefer to return against Ferguson, Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz or Conor McGregor — citing McGregor as the option that “makes sense” if the Irishman is trying to get back to the top of the lightweight division.

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