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Morning Report: Justin Gaethje: Conor McGregor has quit in his heart and once a quitter, always a quitter

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Summer Kickoff Press Conference

Justin Gaethje has spent the last three years as the World Series of Fighting lightweight champion, building a name for himself as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. But though he has long been considered one of the top 155-pounders in the sport, with his UFC debut one week away, now Gaethje is determined to establish himself as the very best. There’s one problem though, that title that currently belongs to Irish superstar Conor McGregor, who is currently taking a hiatus from MMA to box Floyd Mayweather..

Speaking with the UFC Unfiltered podcast recently, Gaethje talked about the current UFC lightweight champion, how he matches up with him, and how he plans on getting a shot at McGregor’s belt.

“Skill wise, there’s nobody that’s gonna outwork me. He’ll outtalk me, that’s for damn sure but he ain’t gonna outwork me. His skillset is special, he’s got a great left hand. But we’ve seen him quit. He’s got quit in his heart and once a quitter, always a quitter.”

Gaethje is referring to the face that McGregor has been submitted twice in his career whereas Gaethje is undefeated with a record of 17-0. On Friday July 7, Gaethje will face fifth-ranked lightweight Michael Johnson in his UFC debut. After moving his record up to 18-0, Gaethje says he plans on calling for an interim title shot to secure a shot at McGregor. Though McGregor is in the driver’s seat for basically any UFC fight, Gaethje thinks that a pair of electric finishes and an interim title belt guarantee him a shot at his second world title.

“I’m gonna get that opportunity. I’m gonna get the interim belt around my waist and then when he comes back, he has to fight me. [I’ll] make it a dogfight, make it a war, everything he doesn’t want it to be.

“Absolutely [I’m calling for a title shot after my fight]. Like I said, if I get that belt around my waist, there’s no question who he has to fight when he comes back. Well, he can fight whoever the hell he wants obviously but if I have the interim title and I’m finishing people like I know I can, he has to fight me.”

But first things first, Gaethje has to get past Johnson at The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale on July 7. Though only 2-3 in his last five fights, Johnson is a stiff test for the debuting WSOF champion which Gaethje acknowledges, saying that the UFC was “throwing me to the wolves and I love it.” But wolf or not, Gaethje looks at Johnson the same way he looks at McGregor, just another guy who will break under his pressure.

“Like I said with Conor, once a quitter, always a quitter. He has 11 losses on his record and six or seven of them are decisions. That’s six or seven times you got outworked. That will never be the case in one of my fights. When I lose, I’ll get knocked out. It won’t be because I got outworked or outskilled or anything like that.

“I’m gonna be strong. Hopefully I can get him in the air and put his head through the mat a couple of times. I think at first I’ll be fighting Michael Johnson the fighter and 10 minutes in I’ll be fighting Michael Johnson the track star.”

Justin Gaethje faces Michael Johnson in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale on Friday July 7, in Las Vegas, Nev.


MUST-READ STORIES

BS. Nick Diaz suspended and is facing anti-doping violation for whereabouts failures.

Stop. Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson have a heated exchange at UFC media day.

Appeal. Michael Chiesa is appealing his controversial loss at UFC Fight Night 112.

TAC. UFC admonishes Texas commission for Cortney Casey situation, requests reversal.

Dreams. Kevin Lee says fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov is the “best move” for him.

2x Gold. Two-time Olympic gold medalist judoka Kayla Harrison will make her MMA debut in 2018.


VIDEO STEW

Free fights.

New trailer for DC-Jones 2. Hot damn.

Whittaker’s Road to 213 episode 3.

Michael Johnson saying he might drop to 145.

Werdum on Fedor’s loss.

Shevchenko on TMZ.

TTTHS on the worst news.


LISTEN UP

The Naked Truth. Discussions about poop and Big Rigg eating sweet and sour pork.

Bushido Talk. UFC OKC and 214 discussion as well as some Bellator talk.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Mayweather’s vid.

Conor’s video.

You've never seen these moves. #Ghost

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

A side by side comparison.

And Conor’s response to Floyd’s video which is. . . something.

Dana repping Conor.

Can't wait for the world tour!!!! #mayweathermcgregor

A post shared by Dana White (@danawhite) on

And Dana going at TAC.

Gotta respect Chael’s hustle. Always trying to line up fights.

Cro Cop essentially telling Bisping to f**k off after throwing PED accusations at Fedor and all of Pride.

Zanimljivih likova ima u kontaktnim borilačkim sportovima a i oko njih,što kao borci,što kao fanovi, što kao ljudi koji...

Posted by Mirko CroCop Filipovic on Thursday, June 29, 2017

Continuing the beef.

And Jorge still here.

Uhh... maybe the one up there who was a champion pro boxer? This is embarrassing.

Unclear what’s going on here.

Looks like maybe we’ll see the Cat Smasher back in the Octagon one day.

La bound . Herb Deans referee course starts tomorrow . I'm super excited

Posted by Chris Leben on Thursday, June 29, 2017

Gotta be staged or else that grandma goes hard.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Alejandro Perez (17-6-1) vs. Andre Soukhamthath (11-4); UFC Fight Night 114, Aug. 5.

Rustam Khabilov (21-3) vs. Desmond Green (20-5); UFC Fight Night 115, Sept. 2.

Marcos Rogerio de Lima (15-5-1) vs. Saparbek Safarov (8-1); UFC Fight Night 115, Sept. 2.

Francimar Barroso (19-5, 1 NC) vs. Aleksandar Rakic (8-1); UFC Fight Night 115, Sept. 2.

Bojan Mihajlovic (10-5) vs. Abdul-Kerim Edilov (16-4); UFC Fight Night 115, Sept. 2.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2001: The WEC held their very first event, WEC 1, headlined by a heavyweight fight between Dan Severn and Travis Fulton, which Severn won by unanimous decision.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Justin Gaethje vs. Conor McGregor would be beautiful violence and it will never happen. That’s why I hate MayGregor, Conor is one of the most exciting MMA fighters alive, aside from also being one of the best, and he competes in the best division in the sport. I want to see him fight Gaethje, Barboza, Tony, and the rest of them. I’m of the opinion that Conor vs. Khabib is the greatest MMA fight of all time from a diversity of angles and we will never see it because instead we get to watch a 40-year-old tool him up. As fans of MMA, we should all be sad about what we’re losing to this nonsense.

Also, Gaethje vs. Johnson is a dumb fight. Gaethje should’ve fought either Poirier or Alvarez but instead, if he wins, fight the winner of that rematch and if he loses, fight the loser.

Anyway, enjoy your UFC free weekend everybody. When we get back it’ll be International Fight Week and a lot of great fighting. Take it easy y’all and Conor bless.


If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy it.