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Morning Report: Justin Gaethje: At the end of the day, Conor McGregor is going to be ‘another Ronda Rousey story’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Justin Gaethje is trying his level best.

Earlier this month, Conor McGregor declared that he would be returning to the cage on Jan. 18, against a yet to be determined opponent. Then Wednesday, UFC President Dana White revealed that the UFC was tentatively looking to book McGregor against fan favorite Donald Cerrone, though he admitted that it was far from a done deal. Should that come to pass, it would be the third-ranked lightweight facing the fifth-ranked lightweight, and should McGregor win, may well set him up for a title shot following the presumed battle between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson that will likely take place next year. Of course, that would leave the fourth-ranked Justin Gaethje out in the cold and Gaethje is not happy about it.

Speaking with TMZ Sports, Gaethje discussed how he has not even been approached about a fight with McGregor and decried how McGregor was trying to skip back to the front of the lightweight line despite having just been throttled by Khabib.

“It’s bullsh*t,” Gaethje said. “I don’t know what’s going on. I’m over here playing in the snow, snowboarding when I can, golfing when I can, trying to keep my mind distracted because I get very frustrated when I think about what’s going on. The fact that if he’s fighting anybody, it should be me, if he want’s to fight for a world title. If he doesn’t then he can fight whoever he wants, I’m cool with that. That’s perfectly fine. I have no complaints about that, but if you want to fight for a world title, I put myself in line and you’re trying to be in line so what is happening right now?”

McGregor has made no bones about being set on getting another crack at Nurmagomedov, but unlike his loss to Nate Diaz, McGregor was unable to demand an immediate rematch and thus seems to have finally accepted the need for another fight beforehand. And despite Cerrone currently being on a two-fight losing streak, a win for McGregor may well set him up for the next shot at Khabib. That’s why, Gaethje says, McGregor’s trying to avoid fighting him, because Conor is looking for an easy win.

“I truly believe that he is scared to fight the fight that he has to fight against me,” Gaethje said. “I think he’s looking for a sure win. At the end of the day, there’s only two ways out with me. You either knock me out - I wouldn’t finish him like Khabib did, I wouldn’t take his neck. I’d make him stand up and then I’d make him take it like a man. That’s one thing I know deep down he’s terrified of and that’s one thing I bring to the table.

“I think he knows that he needs a win but at the end of the day this is gonna be another Ronda Rousey story. He dug himself too deep of a hole and there’s no way he can come out of it. He’s gonna get knocked out and he’s gonna go away.”

Gaethje is currently riding a three-fight win streak, each of which has come by first-round KO. In fact, his most recent victory was over Cerrone and, in a less deep division, would likely have earned Gaethje a title shot. However, with Khabib and Tony being targeted for March of next year, the next crack at the lightweight title may well not happen until next fall, meaning Gaethje needs another opponent before then to ensure he is the guy who gets the next shot, because at the end of the day, Gaethje says it’s all about fighting Khabib.

“I don’t care, I want to fight Khabib,” Gaethje said. “I’ve got to fight Khabib before he goes away. So the fact that Khabib and Tony isn’t even signed yet, I would rather not even sign a fight with Conor because that would take me out of the equation if something happened with Tony. That’s my number one goal, is to fight Khabib, so however I can make that happen.”

And so Gaethje is opting for the most tried and true way to pick a fight, fighting words. “The Highlight” was brutally honest about everything, saying that if the UFC isn’t going to approach him about facing McGregor, maybe he can goad “Notorious” into a fight and get what he wants.

“Right now, talk sh*t to Conor and hopefully pull him out - I don’t got to pull him out, the man said he’s gonna fight,” Gaethje concluded. “He’s an absolute b*tch if he does not fight me. He’s gonna lose a ton of respect from all his fans. I mean, how big of a b*tch can you be? Especially when you call yourself the king - the Burger King - and then not fight me solely for the purpose that you have to get a win so you won’t face me.

“He’s a b*tch but I’m hoping he’s only like a b*tch in a way that he doesn’t want them to tell me that I’m fighting him January 18th so that maybe he’ll get a head start in training, not as big a b*tch as just he’s not fighting me. So I don’t know. I’m training like I always do, staying ready.”

Geathje last competed in September, scoring a first-round knockout of Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night Vancouver.


Big fights. Nate Diaz only interested in the biggest fights moving forward: ‘I ain’t fighting no suckers anymore

Greatest opponents. Jorge Masvidal: ‘I want to fight the greatest guys of my generation and hurt them’.

Visa issues. Visa issue delays Darren Till’s UFC 244 arrival, Jared Cannonier on standby.

Conor. Dana White ‘looking’ at Conor McGregor vs. ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, but not a done deal yet.

Out. Paulo Costa confirms he won’t be ready to fight until next April.


UFC 244 Timeline.

The A-Side Live Chat.

Embedded 3.

Jorge’s top mic moments.

Masvidal discussing his rematch with Ray.

Abdulmanap with the Conor shade.


Heavy Hands. Discussing all the big fights at UFC 244.

Pull No Punches. An interview with Shane Burgos.


Conor just retweeted this.

Stop the damn match.

This is gonna be a weird fight.

Johnny Walker is carved from wood.

You know Dana saw this and put in some calls.

I don’t think he needs help.

Fight promotion.


Khadis Ibragimov (8-1) vs. Ed Herman (23-14, 1 NC); UFC Moscow, Nov. 9.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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