Usually, fighters call out Conor McGregor. That’s just how it works. Conor is the biggest PPV star in the history of the UFC, Conor is the one with the potential to propel his opponents into stardom while making them a considerable sum of money along the way. But after Justin Gaethje (22-2) defeated Tony Ferguson (25-4) at last Saturday’s UFC 249, the roles have been reversed, as McGregor is calling out the newly crowned interim lightweight champion.
The logical course of action – agreed upon by Gaethje, undisputed lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0), UFC president Dana White, and common wisdom – is for the next step to be a title unification bout between Gaethje and Nurmagomedov. But McGregor thinks he should be next in line to fight Gaethje.
After UFC 249, McGregor – who had ignored Gaethje’s numerous callouts of the Irish fighter in the months prior – was suddenly very vocal about his desire to fight “The Highlight,” posting on Twitter:
In an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Gaethje fired back, suggesting that McGregor is “losing respect” among other fighters, further adding that McGregor “doesn’t hold the cards” now that Gaethje has put himself in a position to fight for the undisputed lightweight belt.
Gaethje has been insistent that the only fight he will take is against Nurmagomedov.