Mixed martial arts: Nurmagomedov to face Gaethje in October, says UFC's White

(Reuters) - Khabib Nurmagomedov will take on Justin Gaethje for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) undisputed lightweight crown on Oct. 24, the mixed martial arts promotion’s chief Dana White said.

The 31-year-old Nurmagomedov unified the lightweight title with a third-round submission win over interim champion Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi last September but has not fought since the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Dagestan native’s father and coach Abdulmanap died earlier this month due to complications after contracting the virus.

"It's been very rough on him... his father was a hero to him, he loved his father, they had a very close relationship and it was very hard on him," White told CNN here.

“That fight is going to happen. Khabib v Gaethje Oct. 24.”

The UFC has been staging bouts in its “Fight Island” located in Abu Dhabi during the virus outbreak but White did not disclose the location of the fight.

Gaethje scored a surprise knockout win over Tony Ferguson in May to claim the interim lightweight title at UFC 249. Ferguson had been slated to fight Nurmagomedov but the bout was cancelled due to travel restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford