Following back to back losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, both of which were absolute wars, UFC lightweight contender Justin Gaethje has put himself right back in the title mix with stunning first round knockouts of James Vick and Edson Barboza.

Now the big question is, who’s next for the 30 year old? While speaking at UFC 236 yesterday, Gaethje gave his thoughts on who he should face next (as transcribed by MMA Junkie).

“I believe the winner of tonight, deservedly so, gets a shot at Khabib [Nurmagomedov], and I want to put myself in position to fight the winner of that fight. I think Tony [Ferguson] and Conor [McGregor] do that for me.

“Tony is dealing with whatever he has to deal with. I expect him to take as much time as he needs to come back 100%. I know he can come back right now. He’s a warrior, there’s no doubt about it.

Who f***ing knows what’s happening with Conor? But they either take him out of the rankings if he’s retired, or they keep him in the rankings and he has to fight somebody. If that’s me, cool. If that’s not me, cool, but there has to be some type of structure to what’s going on here. We can’t just keep floating around.

“I want to know what my path is, and you can’t do that by saying I’m retired and being in the rankings and being ranked ahead of me. If you’re ranked ahead of me, you’re fighting for the title. He doesn’t deserve a title shot right now, so therefore it’s me or its Tony, and he has to pick one of us to fight.”

And it’s difficult to argue with the former WSOF champion. McGregor needs to win at least one or two more big fights, to earn a title shot. And with Dustin Poirier confirmed to fight Khabib next, after beating Max Holloway in the UFC 236 main event, realistically it leaves Gaethje, McGregor, Ferguson and the winner of next month’s Al Iaquinta vs ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, to battle it out amongst themselves, to get a shot at the title.

You could matchup any of those four against each other and you would get fireworks inside the Octagon. Perhaps pair them off on the same card. Put them on them on the same card as Khabib vs Poirier, and you’ve got one special night in the UFC lightweight division. And one hell of a night for the fans.

Do you think we’d see Conor on such a card, if he couldn’t be in the main event?

Who do you want to see fight who at the top of the UFC lightweight division?



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