Report: UFC Heading To Russia In September, Khabib Nurmagomedov Wants Tony Ferguson In April
Rumours of the UFC entering the Russian market for the first time have been circling around the MMA community for years, but today, it would appear that there’s finally been a solid report on when the first show might be.
Denis Geyko of RT.com, a Russian international television network funded by the Russian government, has today reported that a source at the Moscow Olympic Stadium confirmed that the UFC show have booked the venue on both September 14 and 15.
The Moscow Olympic Stadium (Olimpiyskiy or Olimpiski) is a large indoor arena, located in Moscow, Russia (Wikipedia). It was built for the 1980 Summer Olympics and, divided into two separated halls, hosted the basketball and boxing events. Boxing and MMA events held their have traditionally been configured to hold 22,o00.
Back in Nov. 2016, UFC President Dana White signalled his intentions to enter the Russian market at the UFC 205 post-fight press conference following Conor McGregor’s win over Eddie Alvarez for the UFC lightweight title.
“Ari [Emanuel] and I are going to Russia in the next couple of weeks, we’re working on Russia, we’re working on China. We’re making some real big moves here in the next several months.
“I promise you this: .when we roll into Russia, we’re going to make it big.”
Of course, all of this will add fuel to the fire regarding a Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov showdown. White previously stated in an interview with MMA Junkie that McGregor had requested a showdown with the Russian fighter in his own backyard.
“You know what Conor told me? White said, ‘I want Khabib in Russia,’.”
Before that happens though, Nurmagomedov reportedly wants to face UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson in April.
“Most likely, this event is going to be connected with us,” Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov told RT.com, in response to their earlier report about the UFC heading to Russia in September. “We will fight in April first with Tony Ferguson, and then we will receive a date for a fight with McGregor.
“Although I can’t exclude the possibility they will make us wait for Ferguson until September, and there won’t be an April fight.”