UFC – Abdelaziz: McGregor Needs To Beat Gaethje To Earn Title Shot
Conor McGregor made a successful return to the Octagon at UFC 246, when he stopped ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in just 40 seconds. Now the question is, who’s next for the Irishman. Dana White has stated that he will challenge the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, who meet at UFC 249. While those close to ‘The Notorious’ have stated that he won’t wait that long. Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz has now stated his opinion – fight Justin Gaethje for the right to challenge for the UFC lightweight title.
Speaking to TMZ Sports, Abdelaziz said Conor doesn’t deserve a title shot after beating ‘Cowboy’, reminding fans that Gaethje knocked out Cerrone before McGregor did.
”You can’t get a title fight by beating a guy who is 36 years old, coming off a loss. If he wants to fight a title shot, like Khabib said, he needs to start fighting guys like [Justin] Gaethje, guys like Islam Makhachev. These types of young guys, up and coming, who is coming off wins. He (Gaethje) knocked out the guy (‘Cowboy’) [who McGregor] just knocked out. He not gonna get a title.
“Of course I’m not impressed. It was a good performance. He treated Cerrone the way he should have treated him. But at the end of the day it’s a huge fight, but Khabib is all about principle. Khabib is going to do what is best for Khabib right now. The best for Khabib is to focus on Tony Ferguson. After Tony? The rankings say it’s Justin. Justin Gaethje. But in the meantime if Conor thinks he’s next for a shot, he should fight Justin Gaethje. Conor needs to start beating some guys that are relevant, like Khabib’s father says. You have to beat some guys.”
While at times it’s easy to disagree with Abdelaziz, it’s easy to see his logic here. McGregor doesn’t want to wait until probably the end of the year to face the Khabib vs Ferguson fight, many believed he should have returned against Gaethje in the first place, and a win for either would eliminate any doubt of who the worthy next challenger to the UFC lightweight champion should be.
”Conor can say whatever he wants but my advice to Conor?” Abdelaziz concluded. “I say ‘Hey bitch, fight Justin Gaethje, get a win, and after that go back for a title shot’. That’s it”
With Jorge Masvidal set to challenge Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight title in July, a fight against Gaethje makes even more sense for McGregor. And if you put it on the UFC 249 card, you have two backups if anything happens to Khabib or Tony (for the fifth time). Although that would obviously depend on whether Conor would accept fighting in a co-main event.
Would you like to see Conor McGregor and Justin Gaethje fight for the next title shot?