UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has confirmed he will face Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi on September 7, it was announced on Tuesday.
Khabib’s return will mark the end of an 11-month absence from the sport following the victory over McGregor in October. The Russian retains an undefeated record in 27 professional fights.
In late May, the Nevada State Athletic Commission shortened suspensions for his teammates to allow the UFC to facilitate the fight with Poirier. The two fighters – Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov – had previously been handed one-year suspensions for their involvement in a brawl with Conor McGregor’s associates following Khabib’s UFC 229 win over the former champion.
Despite being able to return to the octagon in July, Khabib refused until the suspension was lifted.
Since then, Poirier – who has had 25 wins and 5 losses – went on to win an interim lightweight title by ending a 13-fight win streak of former featherweight-title holder Max Holloway. In April, the UFC signed a deal with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi to bring UFC events to the emirate for the next five years, beginning with UFC 242 in September.
Another fighter, Lebanese-German Khalid Taha, has also confirmed his participation in the event. He is expected to face Brazilian bantamweight Bruno Silva.