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Justin Gaethje issues statement in the wake of UFC 249 postponement

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Justin Gaethje Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

When opportunity knocked, Justin Gaethje answered.

The seven-time post fight bonus winner accepted a short notice fight against Tony Ferguson with an interim lightweight title on the line at UFC 249 after reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was forced out of the event.

Unfortunately just days after Gaethje inked his contract for the fight, the UFC pulled the plug on the entire show after executives at ESPN asked the promotion to stand down from putting on events during the coronavirus pandemic.

That decision came at the cost of Gaethje’s first shot at UFC gold. But it appears he’s keeping a positive attitude regardless of the circumstances surrounding the event.

“I really felt a surge of energy and support as this fight was building up from so many people across the world, it was very humbling,” Gaethje said on Instagram. “I am thankful to represent Safford, (Ariz.,) and my great friends and family.

“I’m going to be working hard to be ready next time the opportunity arises. Let’s get through this fight we are all facing right now by having a positive impact on our immediate surroundings (family, neighbor, community) Thank you!! The boss Dana White is someone I am proud to do business with.”

Despite conditions that have shut down gyms and restricted access to training partners, Gaethje is committed to staying ready for a fight. But with UFC 249 postponed and no clear timeline for the promotion’s return, he faces an uncertain future.