UFC president Dana White assures that we haven’t seen the last of “Fight Island.”
The UFC landed on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi for nearly the entire month of July, hosting four events and four title fights overall.
When the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down borders, many international fighters feared that their careers were going to hit a standstill, but White came up with a solution. He provided a location he called “Fight Island,” which has successfully hosted three events so far; UFC 251 on July 11, UFC on ESPN 13 on July 15 and UFC on ESPN+ 30 on July 18.
With one show left in July, UFC on ESPN 14 on Saturday, White says the UFC is expected to return to Abu Dhabi again in fall. He says Abu Dhabi will play host to some of the biggest title fights, including UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next title defense.
“The shows that we bring here, this is the only international destination for fights,” White told The National. “So all the biggest and the baddest fights coming up that we have are going to be here.
“If you look at our roster of champions, they’re from all over the world. So the biggest, baddest fights over the next God knows how long are going to be here in Abu Dhabi. That’s why I’m saying Abu Dhabi is going to be looked at as the new fight capital of the world. It used to be Las Vegas. It definitely isn’t Las Vegas right now.”
Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) is currently taking some time off after the tragic passing of his father, Abdulmanap. He is expected to unify his title with UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje next, at a date yet to be announced.
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will defend his title against Paulo Costa in the main event of UFC 253 on Sept. 19, which White says, could also end up happening in Abu Dhabi.
That, as well as the return of Conor McGregor, if he decides to come out of retirement.
“Khabib will be the next,” White said. “We’re talking about Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa, that fight happening. Zhang Weili vs. Rose Namajunas is a possibility. All the massive, big fights with literally the champion vs. the No. 1 contender are all looking like ‘Fight Island,’ Abu Dhabi.”
He continued, “Everybody keeps asking me about Conor,” White said. “He’s retired right now. He and I have not talked. I don’t know. Obviously, if Conor comes back and wanted to fight, ‘Fight Island’ is where he would be. So, yeah, he would be here in Abu Dhabi.”
Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/07/dana-white-expects-abu-dhabi-ufc-title-fights-including-khabib-nurmagomedov/