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Morning Report: Justin Gaethje would ‘probably’ quit if Conor McGregor gets title shot off Michael Chandler win

UFC 286: Gaethje v Fiziev
Justin Gaethje
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Conor McGregor could potentially be the man to end Justin Gaethje’s career without even fighting him.

Come July, it will have been two full years since McGregor last fought in the octagon. McGregor fell short in a second consecutive loss to Dustin Poirier via TKO in after breaking his leg at the end of Round 1. Now fully healed, “The Notorious” is anticipated to return in the latter half of 2023 despite having yet to re-enter the USADA testing pool.

McGregor’s comeback fight is expected to come against his rival coach Michael Chandler. The pair recently starred opposite one another as coaches on Season 31 of The Ultimate Fighter, which airs May 30 on ESPN. Gaethje shares that he was offered the opportunity to be a coach on the same season, but didn’t name who his opponent would have been. The fear going forward is that a single McGregor win will lead to a title shot, whether or not the Chandler bout takes place at lightweight or welterweight.

“Would I quit if Conor won and they gave him a title shot? Probably,” Gaethje told ESPN. “That’s how hurt I would be by the actions of the company I represent. But that’s out of my control. I just really hope that doesn’t happen.

“We can imagine a lot of things, but there’s a possibility that that’s the scenario, which I would be devastated, for sure.”

Always active, Gaethje’s fought three times since McGregor’s trilogy bout with Poirier. “The Highlight” is 2-1 in that stretch, defeating Chandler in a 2021 Fight of the Year before most recently taking home a unanimous decision nod against Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286 earlier this month.

Gaethje has always been open and interested in a McGregor matchup, but at this juncture, it isn’t looking likely to happen anytime soon. Instead, Gaethje targets a rematch with the man who handed him his second-ever MMA loss, Poirier. The thrilling lightweights first met in April 2018, resulting in an unforgettable war that saw Poirier score a fourth-round TKO.

“I think the obvious fight is Poirier,” Gaethje said of his next move. “Not sure when, but I think that’s obvious with [Charles] Oliveira fighting [Beneil] Dariush coming up. The winner fighting [Islam] Makhachev probably towards the end of the year. I think I’m either gonna fight Poirier or the loser of Oliveira-Dariush. I think those are the only two fights that are out there for me.

“I’m a much different, more mature fighter as is he (Poirier), but I think we’re two of the best in the world. Neither one of us have a fight lined up, so no-brainer. It leads to big title discussions. I gave the new guys a chance, they proved that they can’t crack it yet with the experienced [guys]. At the end of the day, it comes down to being able to fight a smart fight and not get tired.”


Nope. Sean O’Malley reveals he won’t serve as UFC 288 backup fighter: “If one of those dorks pull out, reschedule it.”

Moves. Anthony Pettis expects Roy Jones Jr. to be “surprised” by his boxing skill, will decide future after match.

Crossover. Carl Froch declares he’d face Conor McGregor “in the cage,” McGregor responds.

$$$. Markus Perez: Gamebred Boxing paying me “three times more” than UFC.

Prediction. Jorge Masvidal takes aim at Khamzat Chimaev, vows to “melt” Gilbert Burns: “He’s a front-runner.”

Review. Paddy Pimblett admits Jared Gordon fight “a lot closer than I thought,” but scoffs at alleged UFC favoritism.


The MMA Hour.

Free fight.

Full fight.

Salty submissions.

Early UFC 287 look.

10 days out.

Fancy judging.

Larkin’s crazy elbow KO.



DAMN! They Were Good. MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew, Mike Heck, and Shaun Al-Shatti look back at the “Smooth” career of Benson Henderson.



The plot thickens.

Classic Cung Le.






Just look at it.



Bad leg locks.

RIZIN 41 fight week hype.


Good question.


Gabe Green (11-4) vs. Bryan Battle (9-2); UFC Fight Night, May 13

Blake Bilder (8-0-1) vs. Kyle Nelson (13-5-1); UFC 289, June 10

Josh Emmett (18-3) vs. Ilia Topuria (13-0); UFC Fight Night, June 17


Gaethje may be the one fighter I can confidently say I never want to see retire. It’s entirely selfish, but I don’t care. The man knows he’s must-see TV!

Thanks for reading!



Who retires first?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Justin Gaethje
    (224 votes)
  • 63%
    Conor McGregor
    (382 votes)
606 votes total Vote Now

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