Dan Hardy hopes UFC 249 goes ahead without Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson

Dan Hardy has backed the UFC to fight through the coronavirus crisis as their next flagship show hangs in the balance.

The organisation held a behind-closed-doors event in Brazil last month before being forced to postpone their subsequent events due to the pandemic.

But president Dana White is determined to cobble together a card for UFC 249 which is scheduled to take place on April 18.

He has yet to finalise a venue with the world going into lockdown in a bid to combat the crisis, but Hardy believes there is a safe way to bring back live sport.

"Although there are unprecedented things going on around the world, everyone wants a bit of normality and there are a lot of people who need an escape right now," he told MirrorFighting.

"I see both sides of it; obviously there is a risk for the fighters and staff in putting the fights on but at the moment there is a risk going to the supermarket.

"I think putting a fight card on would be a great relief for everyone right now and as long as the correct card is put together, and no-one is forced to defend belts or anything, I have no problem with it.

"There are a lot of fighters sitting at home bored out of their minds and who would like to have a focus.

"The UFC knows what they're doing and are not going to put anyone at an unnecessary risk, I just hope they can do the event and it's safe and well-regulated."

Khabib Nurmagomedov was due to defend his lightweight title against Tony Ferguson in a fortnight but withdrew from the fight last week.

He had hoped to be able to leave Russia for either Dubai or the United States but a travel ban has now made that impossible.

The bout has now been cancelled five times and Hardy would rather it was preserved for later in the year.

"The fight needs to happen but I'd hate for it to happen in unusual circumstances because then the circumstances become part of the storyline and we're only going to have to get the rematch then," he added.

"I like the anticipation of not knowing how they match up; if we got the fight now and Khabib had to fly halfway across the world and was a percentage of himself and lost to Tony Ferguson, I'm anticipating the rematch less because I already know how it might play out.

"Right now it's a mystery, I don't know how it's going to go because there are so many ways it can play out. I'd love them to have a full training camp and come in as prepared as they can be.

"There are plenty of other fighters around – especially if the card is in the US – who can jump on and make a great show; we don't need the lightweight title on the line right now, I think we can wait until the crisis is over."

BT Sport will celebrate the anniversary of Conor McGregor’s UFC debut on Monday, April 6. Watch McGregor’s greatest fights back to back on BT Sport 3 from 9pm.

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