UFC 249: Justin Gaetjhe confirmed to fight Tony Ferguson in main event

Justin Gaetjhe.
Justin Gaetjhe. Photo credit: Getty

Justin Gaetjhe has answered the UFC's SOS and will step in to replace Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC 239 main event against Tony Ferguson at a location yet to be determined.

With lightweight champion Nurmagomedov stranded in his native Russia by the COVID-19 travel ban, the UFC was left scrambling to find Ferguson an opponent for the April 18 card.

On Monday, president Dana White confirmed Gaetjhe - the fourth-ranked fighter in the division - would take his place for an interim lightweight title bout and, probably, the next shot at Nurmagomedov's belt.

But while the main event has been somewhat saved, the event's location is still yet to be confirmed.

Originally scheduled for Brooklyn, recent reports suggest it will take place somewhere on the west coast of the United States.

White has held firm that the pay-per-view will go ahead, despite mass sporting cancellations across the globe.

But the event has lost plenty of its lustre after Nurmagomedov's withdrawal, which scuppered the highly anticipated match-up with Ferguson for a staggering fifth time.

On a three-fight win streak, the hard-hitting Gaetjhe will enter the bout as a lengthy underdog given the short notice, with just over a week-and-a-half to prepare for the ultra-diverse, high-octane offence of second-ranked Ferguson.

Ranked one spot above the American, Kiwi lightweight Dan Hooker had been vocal in his wishes for a potential bout with Gaetjhe, but the latest turn of events means that clash will have to wait.