UFC – Gaethje: The Chances I Fight McGregor Next Are Really Good
Many fans believed Justin Gaethje should have been the man to welcome Conor McGregor back to the Octagon at UFC 246. Instead, ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone had the honours that night. Now many fans, and myself included, believe that ‘The Highlight’ should be next for ‘The Notorious’.
Coming off three straight first round finishes, Gaethje has been calling for a fight with McGregor. As has his manager Ali Abdelaziz, who also manages Khabib Nurmagomedov. And while the world is currently in lockdown due to the coronavirus, it is speculated that the fight will happen this summer.
After he beat ‘Cowboy’ last September at UFC Vancouver, Gaethje said he either wants a title shot next or a top five opponent, such as McGregor. With Khabib vs Tony Ferguson set for UFC 249 next month (tentatively), the 31 year old realises that he probably will need to win one more fight to earn a title shot. With obviously the Irishman making the most sense for him.
“I think I have to look at the big picture whenever I think about it. I think me waiting to fight the winner of Khabib-Tony isn’t realistic. I think I will have to fight again,” Gaethje told MMA Fighting.
“I think me and Conor need to fight each other to figure out the number one contender. Outside of that, if I need to fight someone else to assure myself of the number one contender’s spot and get the winner of that fight, I’ll do that. As long as that’s a sure thing.”
While Gaethje acknowledges that McGregor will decide who his next opponent is, he also rightly understands that should Conor beat him, no one could argue that he deserves the next shot at the title.
“You know it’s his choice. [McGregor] picks who he fights.
“He knows that if he fights me and beats me, nobody — Khabib [Nurmagomedov], Ali [Abdelaziz], whoever — can’t say much about him earning it or deserving the title shot. But until then, he ain’t going to get it.”
Speaking to ESPN last summer, McGregor revealed that if he hadn’t have broken his hand, he would have fought Gaethje. But whilst Justin has said that he didn’t know anything about that, he believes now is the right time to fight Conor.
“I haven’t necessarily wanted to fight this guy for a while. He said he was going to fight me last year and I was coming off two losses and I was making my way back up the ranks. That was what I was doing.
“Now I’m in a great position to fight for a title and I have him saying he wants to jump ahead. Now I want to fight him cause it’s the right time. It’s the right fight to make.”
Although McGregor has remained relatively quiet as to who he wants to fight next, both his coaches John Kavanagh and Owen Roddy have said that they would be excited to see Conor fight Justin. These comments have given Gaethje hope that he could fight the former two division UFC champion next.
“I think the chances are pretty good. I think they’re really good. What’s crazy, whenever [Owen] Roddy did that interview, I don’t know what I was doing, I think I was golfing or something and someone told me to look on the internet and it was everywhere. It’s cool.”
But for now, Gaethje will have to see how things play out.
“So much logistics when it comes to making a fight with that guy. It’s a process. If he doesn’t make a choice, I just wait and fight Khabib.”
Do you think Conor McGregor should fight Justin Gaethje next, for the right to fight for the UFC lightweight title?