UFC have announced that they will be returning to Abu Dhabi after a four-year absence, confirming the United Arab Emirates capital as the location for UFC 242 in September.
They announced a five-year partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi ahead of the upcoming event on September 7th, which is expected to include the return of current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to the octagon.
Khabib’s suspension following his involvement in the infamous post-UFC 229 with Conor McGregor’s team will be over by September and it is expected that the undefeated Dagestani fighter will take on Dustin Poirier in a lightweight title unification bout.
September will represent the UFC’s third event in Abu Dhabi and the first since 2015 when they held a fight night headlined by Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
The first time they visited the UAE’s capital, a middleweight title bout between Anderson Silva and Damian Maia headlined while Frankie Edgar defeated BJ Penn for the lightweight title.
The partnership will bring UFC to the UAE for the next five years, with each event having at least one championship bout.
“We are making a long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because we have had great success in that market,” UFC president Dana White said in a press release on the UFC’s website. “The demand from our fans to bring UFC back to Abu Dhabi has been overwhelming, and over the next five years, DCT Abu Dhabi will help us deliver some spectacular UFC championship fights to the UAE.
“I’m very excited about this partnership and what it will mean for the growth of this sport and for UFC in the region.”