‘Nobody else is allowed, just Khabib’: Nurmagomedov is ONLY fighter in his gym as he trains for Tony Ferguson showdown alone due to coronavirus contamination fears, reveals coach
- Khabib Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title fight with Tony Ferguson is still on
- UFC have moved it from Brooklyn but plan is still for huge encounter to go ahead
- With restrictions on movement, Khabib Nurmagomedov is training on his own
- His coach Javier Mendez revealed nobody else is allowed into the gym
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Khabib Nurmagomedov is the only fighter allowed to train at American Kickboxing Academy due to the coronavirus shutdown.
With the Russian’s massive showdown against Tony Ferguson still on, he is preparing alone for the defence of his title next month.
Dana White will be moving UFC 249 from Brooklyn to an as yet unnamed location on April 18 and his two leading men have been told to keep training.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is the only fighter allowed to train, says Javier Mendez (right)
The Russian is still preparing for his lightweight title defence against Tony Ferguson
Khabib’s coach Javier Mendez revealed to ESPN: ‘It is just Khabib. That’s it. Nobody else is allowed. No one is coming. Just Khabib. We’ve gotta keep it safe for him.’
American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) is one of the most highly-regarded MMA gyms in the United States and is based in San Jose.
It has been the home of Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold and Cain Velzquez and boasts 47 professional fighters on the books.
But those athletes have been instructed to stay away. The area surrounding San Francisco is on lockdown and residents have been told only to leave their homes for essential reasons for the next three weeks.
Restrictions put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus mean that Khabib is the only fighter permitted to use the facility, such is the magnitude of his upcoming fight with Ferguson.
Both men have agreed four times to lock horns before and the battle fans are desperate to see has seemed cursed at times.
Injuries, weight cutting issues and now a world-wide pandemic have proved major obstacles but Khabib is preparing to fight, whether Ferguson makes it into the cage or not.
Mendez went on: ‘Khabib expects to fight somebody if something happens to Tony. He expects to fight somebody. One top guy. Whatever.
‘And then he’ll go back after Tony. That’s the way he looks at it. He’s expecting to fight.
Khabib choked out Dustin Poirier in his last fight and is still yet to be beaten in his career
‘It’s not like, “Tony is out; forget it I’m not fighting”, he’s training to fight somebody. It’s not like he has it in for Tony.
‘He doesn’t have it in for Tony. [Ferguson is] a top guy. He’s the very best right now that he could face. So that’s why [Khabib] wants to face him.’
With almost every sport suffering from suspension, the April 18 event could take on another level of global prominence.
Casual fans will be desperate for some action so even a televised fight behind closed doors may yet do enormous numbers in terms of pay-per-view buys.
Evidently Khabib and Ferguson remain on track to compete, though it remains to be seen whether White can knit together the intricacies in such uncertain times.
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