The long-awaited fight between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson appeared to take a big step forward Friday.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, citing UFC president Dana White and Ferguson’s management team, Ballengee Group, reported that Ferguson has signed his contract for the bout, which would take place on April 18 in Brooklyn.
Okamoto noted that this is the fifth time the fighters have been booked, with the first four attempts falling through. Each fighter has pulled out twice.
Ferguson (25-3) last fought in June, when he defeated Donald Cerrone by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at UFC 238. Nurmagomedov (28-0) succesfully defended his 155-pound title last September when he submitted Dustin Poirier at UFC 242.
Okamoto’s report comes a day after White told Okamoto that Nurmagomedov rival Conor McGregor would return to UFC on Jan. 18 to fight Cerrone in the main event of UFC 246. Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor by submission in October 2018 to win the belt at a brawl-marred UFC 229.
McGregor and Cerrone will fight at welterweight (170 pounds).