Gaethje, according to the UFC president, was passed up for a fight with Conor McGregor this month due to the fact that he had rejected matchups offered to him by the UFC in recent times.
As we all know, Dana has always been quick to praise those who accept fights without a moment’s hesitation but as you would expect, many fans became sceptical of his claims – citing the simple fact that Gaethje, on paper, is a tougher matchup for the Irishman than his UFC 246 opponent Donald Cerrone.
After the subject was brought up during a recent appearance on SiriusXM Fight Nation, Gaethje explained the confusion he felt after hearing the UFC president’s words and how they reflected on him as a fighter.
“I’ve been trying to figure out what he’s been talking about. I know when he did that interview not too long ago, he kept saying ‘Justin Gaethje knows what I’m talking about what’s going on, he knows what’s happening’. I literally had no idea what he was talking about, so it’s pretty crazy.
“I told them that it wasn’t enough time, but if they pushed it back a little farther I would take that fight then they turned [the offer] down. Then they asked if I want the Tony fight on the [September 7] Abu Dhabi card and I said yes and he said no so I took the Cowboy fight the week after that.
“Just recently, they offered me Charles Oliveira in Brazil or Dan Hooker in New Zealand, all while the champion didn’t have a fight, McGregor was coming back and still looking for a fight. As far as I know, that’s what the deal is.”
And while Gaethje should certainly be commended for firing back at the UFC – if this actually was the case, he does seem to be completely aware of the potential motives that the promotion may have for using him as a scapegoat of sorts in this situation.
The modern-day fight-business is an interesting world to inhabit and while the media and the fans are privy to certain aspects of the negotiation process, the UFC, for the most part, are the ones responsible for what we know and when we know it.
Gaethje seems to understand this and went on to explain how he can at the very least appreciate why Dana painted the situation in such a light.
“He has people above him, telling him to put the fight [McGregor vs Khabib] together, this is the fight that’s going to make the most money, I’m sure, just looking from the outside in. So I’m guessing why he’s saying those things.
“I don’t think he’s actually trying to make me look bad, I’ve done everything that man could ever want from a fighter or an employee or someone that he pays money to watch. So I don’t think it’s necessarily anything personal against me, I think it’s people above him telling him they have to make that fight no matter what.”
As things stand, the former WSOF champion has no fights lined up for anu events set to take place in 2020.
Despite this, with the UFC 249’s lightweight title-challenger Tony Ferguson now set to finally throw down with champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, there are very little doubts about the fact that Gaethje is the next-in-line for a shot at the belt.
We all know exactly how game The Highlight is but even still, if he did decide to sit out and wait for his crack at 155lb gold, could you really blame him?