The wait for UFC 249 was one for the ages. We were finally going to get the Khabib and Tony match-up we wanted. A match-up that has been in the works for years but constantly cancelled due to a number of things, and then, slowly but surely, it vanished right in front of our eyes.
UFC Owner, Dana White, was in the process of purchasing an island so that the event could take place while quarantining during the whole COVID-19 outbreak; however, ESPN shut down that idea quickly.
The main event, originally Khabib vs Tony, was scheduled and both fighters were healthy leading up to the fight for the first time ever. UFC was one of the few sporting promotions that still held athletic events during these historic times. Khabib made it clear he would not be able to compete if the fight was postponed due to him needing to fast for religious purposes.
With the date of April 18th set in stone, the country then put a ban on any international travel coming into America. Khabib being in Russia put him on the outside looking in on a formidable opponent who he has not faced just yet.
Tony had words to say about this advising that Khabib had time to come to America before the flight ban was in place, but nonetheless, Tony was ready to take his anger out on someone.
Justin Gaethje was awaiting a call from Conor McGregor, but he could not deny the opportunity at an interim Lightweight Title shot, so he quickly stepped in as Khabib’s replacement. Justin is less of a household name, but more than enough of a formidable opponent for Tony to take on such short notice, especially after training for months for Khabib.
The fight card was cancelled before the fight could be hyped to its full potential, so we do not know what type of situation any of these fighters will come back to once the sport resumes.
Will we ever see a Tony vs Khabib matchup? Will Justin Gaethje fight Conor McGregor to see who faces the winner? When will the UFC resume? These are questions we do not have the answer to right now, but we will be waiting patiently for them to be revealed.