Despite rumors to the contrary, Khabib Nurmagomedov is still in Russia even though the country is set to lock down its borders completely on Monday, potentially causing difficulties for the UFC 249 showdown with Tony Ferguson.
Speculation in recent days has suggested that after returning to his homeland from the US last week, Khabib had then moved on elsewhere ahead of further restrictions imposed on travel to and from Russia.
The destination most widely tipped on social media as a bolthole for Khabib was the UAE and Dubai, where the UFC star is known to have friends in high places.
Russia duly announced a lockdown on all cross-border travel on Saturday, which is due to come into force on Monday, March 30. Exceptions will only be made for officially-approved delegations.
However, Khabib’s father and trainer Abdulmanap has confirmed to RT Sport that as of Sunday, his son remained in Russia – despite the potential complications that could cause for his April 18 showdown with Ferguson, which UFC chief Dana White is adamant WILL still happen even in face of the coronavirus chaos around the world.
Khabib’s teammate and friend Shamil Zavurov also seemed to prove as much when he shared what appeared to be fresh footage of Khabib at a makeshift firing range on Sunday.
In the clip posted to Zavurov’s Instagram stories, the pair are seen firing an assault rifle at bottles placed on a plank in the distance.
To end all the speculations – Khabib Nurmagomedov IS IN RUSSIA at the moment. Not in Dubai, not anywhere else. Confirmation comes from his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov (pictures are taken from Shamil Zaurov today’s IG stories) #UFC249pic.twitter.com/4bvDEqYwbe
— Denis Geyko (@DenisGeykoRT) March 29, 2020
The fact that Khabib currently remains in Dagestan does not discount that he could still be granted permission to leave should Dana White manage to pull off a destination for the bout against Ferguson – which has been cancelled no fewer than four times previously.
White has said in various interviews that a location has been “99 percent” agreed, and that he has “four or five” options to choose from.