Conor McGregor isn’t Justin Gaethje’s top priority right now, and there’s a reason for it.
Gaethje, who had successful nose surgery over the summer, hopes to be back in the game in the first quarter of 2023. He was questioned about the possibility of a meeting with McGregor — two of the most thrilling athletes in the history of the sport – during an interview with MMA Fighting.
Gaethje said that McGregor previously had the chance to compete against him, but McGregor chose to compete against Donald Cerrone after more than a year away from the sport.
“If everybody would just remember correctly, I fought Cowboy, I beat him and then he fought Cowboy right after that,” Gaethje told MMA Fighting.
“I was primed and ready to go. It sounds to me like he’s off taking steroids right now. He hasn’t been drug tested by USADA in quite some time. I’m looking for fair competition.”
Gaethje is open to taking on McGregor in terms of his fighting career, but if he believes that the former two-division champion is accurate, he wants an even playing field.
“If he’s on steroids, then give me steroids and let’s go, I’m down with that,” Gaethje said.
“My health is my biggest factor. I have never taken a performance-enhancing drug, and I do not want to fight people that are taking performance enhancing drugs.”
McGregor’s management company Paradigm Sports declined to comment when MMA Fighting contacted them about Gaethje’s comments.
“I don’t even know how it works, I don’t even know how steroids work,” Gaethje said. “I’m sure there’s windows, I’m sure it will [eventually] be fine, I’m sure he can come back and be clean, but the fact that he hasn’t been drug tested tells me he’s taking steroids, whether it’s to heal his leg or not.
“If I break my leg, I’m not taking steroids to heal my leg. He had the chance to fight me, he didn’t fight me. He picked ‘Cowboy,’ so whatever. Who knows? Maybe. I’m sure he’s much more confident now that he can beat me, he certainly didn’t take the fight then because he wasn’t confident, so maybe he’s more confident now and more willing to dance.”
McGregor has been recovering from a severe leg injury he sustained against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July 2021.