It’s looking increasingly likely that UFC 249 will not feature a fight between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson – the fifth time the fight failed to materialise.

With Nurmagomedov currently stranded in Russia due to the country’s travel restrictions put in place for the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, it appears the UFC are creating alternative plans for UFC 249.

According to ESPN‘s Ariel Helwani, lightweight slugger Justin Gaethje has been offered as an opponent to Ferguson.

Though, it’s worth noting that the fight has not been agreed upon nor finalised and the promotion is still looking for a location to put on their UFC249 fights.

The ESPN report says UFC 249 is likely to be held in the USA and, as a result, will be a fight card that only features American fighters.

Nurmagomedov detailed the travel issues he is facing while being left stranded in Russia earlier on Monday.

“We were training in the AKA without any information regarding the fight, where and how is it going to happen,” he told fans on Instagram Live in Russian [translation via RT Sport]. “Then the UFC told us that the fight 100% isn’t happening in the States. And they said that 99% that it will happen in Emirates, Abu Dhabi.

“After talking to the UFC we decided to fly over to the Emirates a month before the fight. I don’t remember the exact date, it was 19th or 20th, I’ll have to check. But when we landed in Emirates we learned that they are going to close borders. And no one will be able to leave or fly in, with exception for residents.

“So we had to fly back to Russia. Currently I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day. Although I don’t know what am I preparing for. Because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked. Same like in the States, same like in Europe, Emirates, everywhere. The whole world is in quarantine right now.”