A pivotal lightweight showdown between Edson Barboza and Khabib Nurmagomedov has been booked for UFC 219.
Barboza initially announced the pairing at a UFC Q&A in Sao Paulo, and promotion officials subsequently confirmed the bout. UFC 219 takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Dec. 30 and also includes a bantamweight tilt between Dominick Cruz and Jimmie Rivera and a welterweight clash pitting Carlos Condit against Neil Magny.
“I know it’s going to be a big war,” Barboza said at the Q&A. “You guys know I love war, so definitely be ready for this, guys. I hope you guys don’t blink. This fight is going to be a big war. I’m ready for this.”
Barboza has won four of his last five Octagon appearances and is coming off consecutive triumphs over Beneil Dariush, Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis. The 31-year-old Brazilian is 13-4 overall during his tenure with the Las Vegas-based promotion.
Injuries have limited the unbeaten Nurmagomedov’s activity in recent years. He went 2-0 in 2016, posting triumphs over Michael Johnson and Darrell Horcher. “The Eagle” was supposed to face Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight championship at UFC 209, but that bout was canceled after Nurmagomedov experienced difficulties with his weight cut. The 29-year-old Dagestani owns a 24-0 professional mark.