Justin Gaethje found out Conor McGregor nearly was his opponent when the entire world did.
McGregor did an hour-long interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani last week where he referenced the popular lightweight as the possible opponent for a July return inside Madison Square Garden.
Those plans were scrapped following a broken hand by McGregor breaking his hand during camp, but it seems Gaethje is down to dance with McGregor following his next fight with Donald Cerrone.
“That was the first time I heard that,” Gaethje said to TMZ. “I was training for a fight, he broke his hand early. So, I think even before it would have gotten to me, he broke his hand and it didn’t come together. But yeah, it makes me happy. Cowboy’s number 4 and he’s number 3 so after I get through Cowboy it’s onto the next, and that’s him.”
“I feel like I’ll fight him one day. Probably after Cowboy. The winner of this fight, so long as it’s impressive. If he’s coming back, it has to be someone like me, like Cowboy. It ain’t gonna be a Tony. It could be the loser of Khabib vs. Poirier, but I doubt he wants to do that. So, the next option is the winner of me vs. Cowboy if he wants back into the mix. He’s ranked number 3 right now, that’s crazy to me. But he’s got a lot of power.”
“He hasn’t fought in two and a half years,” Gaethje said of McGregor, who last fought in 2018. “He brings the most attention, he’s the biggest superstar in this sport, he’s not even fighting and he’s still the biggest superstar. So, of course, I want to f**k him up. I see him punch an old man, do I want to punch him for that? F**k yeah, I want to f**k that dude up for s**t like that. He looks like a crackhead on your video.”
While a fight with McGregor brings a big payday, for Gaethje, he eyes something more important, the UFC lightweight title.
“I want the Russian right now,” Gaethje said in reference to champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. “I’ll go out there and show Conor how to fight that man. You get your ass whupped and then you say the man ran from you? He dropped you and he beat your ass and made you tap. He made you say uncle or nanny or sissy or whatever.”
“I think he should enjoy his money,” he said of McGregor, who tapped to Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.
“We all get into this to make enough money to get out of this. But he’s got a big ass ego, I’m sure it’s going to get him knocked out one or two more times.”