UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje has his sights set on unifying the belts when he fights lineal champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, that has not stopped him from firing shots at former champion Conor McGregor.
Gaethje is not only open to fighting McGregor after his fight with Khabib, but he is confident he can finish the Irishman. “I think he’s got about three rounds, and then it’s hell, and he doesn’t want to go to hell,” Gaethje said in an interview with ESPN.
Gaethje offered McGregor some praise, saying that his career accolades are of “legendary status” and that McGregor has accomplished “what every fighter wants to attain,” but added: “I can’t wait to punch him in the face.”
“The Highlight” has called out McGregor on a number of occasions in the last few months, but only after attaining the interim lightweight belt did he catch the eye of the opportunistic former champion.
Justin is 22-2 in his MMA career (5-2 in the UFC), with 19 of his 22 wins coming by way of knockout or TKO. His two losses came against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier in back-and-forth wars. He has since changed his approach considerably, controlling distance behind a solid jab and ferocious leg kicks.
He has also shown more restraint and energy management than in the past, demonstrating the ability to go the distance against one of the most relentless fighters in the world in Tony Ferguson.
Whether or not Gaethje beats Khabib, McGregor vs. Gaethje makes sense, and would have the potential to become an instant classic.