Gaethje Wants Title Shot Next, Thinks Conor vs ‘Cowboy’ Is ‘Freak Show’
Justin Gaethje has one goal – fight for the UFC lightweight title. Going by his last three performances, he’s going the right way to achieve this. And with Conor McGregor vs ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone set to take place at welterweight when they meet at UFC 246, the path to the title may have just got a little clearer.
Speaking on The Luke Thomas Show yesterday, (as transcribed my MMA Fighting), Gaethje said he’s earned his shot against the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, who are set to fight for the title on April 18th.
“I’m the guy waiting for the title shot. I got the winner of the fight in April, as far as I’m concerned. Three knockouts in a row. I’m not sure what else I need to do? If there’s someone else in the way, then I would happily go through them, but I don’t think there is.
“So the winner of that is looking most likely. I’m planning on trying to maybe push myself to be ready for around that date just in case something happens but it’s super hard for me to get up for a training camp, to get up for a fight when I don’t actually have an opponent. So I don’t know if that’s gonna happen.
“Ultimately I got into this for one reason and that’s to fight for a world championship. So if that’s at the end of the road, then absolutely. I don’t want to [wait]. I’m not getting any younger, but I want to fight for the world title. I’m not going to be a fool, I’m going to make smart business decisions from here on out. Not strictly but I mean right now, three wins in a row, three knockouts, three first-round finishes in a row, so that’s what I’m looking for.”
Gaethje may be looking for the title shot next but he makes it clear that if he has to fight McGregor to earn the title shot, then that’s what he’ll do. And the 31 year old ensures that it’s because it’s the ‘most direct path to the lightweight championship and not because it’s a ‘money fight’.
“I want the winner of Tony and Khabib. When I fought he (McGregor) was retired. After I fought he was not retired so that’s why I started calling him out, because that was the most direct path to the title shot. And to avoid him trying to fight somebody else and try to jump past me. I’m under contract, I’m not gonna fight him for any more money. He’s not a champion, I’m not fighting for a world title so I was going to fight him for whatever money is in my contract for the next fight. Doesn’t matter if I fight him, if I fight Poirier, if I fight [Dan] Hooker, it’ll be the same amount of money. So that is irrelevant. I wanted to fight him because that’s the most direct path to the lightweight championship.”
Although McGregor may have done Gaethje a favour by going up to welterweight to fight ‘Cowboy’, ‘The Highlight’ still can’t understand why he would do so. Going as far as to calling it a ‘freak show’.
“I mean, it’s a freak show, man. I don’t know, I don’t know what to make of it. For me, I think it’s good, it takes him out of the picture. It kind of clears the path to what needs to happen.”
“Fighting at 170, I don’t know how in his mind he can say ‘I’ll fight in 170 and then fight for the world title next.’ I’d like to think it is because he doesn’t want to fight me, but I don’t think I’m that scary. So I don’t understand it.”
Gaethje is coming off three first round knockout wins over James Vick, Edson Barboza and ‘Cowboy’.
Do you think Justin Gaethje deserves to fight the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson?