Gaethje has expressed an interest in fighting the star for some time now. But, now that Dustin Poirier is expected to battle Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Tony Ferguson is fighting Donald Cerrone June 8th, Gaethje is ratcheting up the pressure on McGregor. Case in point, while speaking to ESPN  recently, Gaethje had this to say:
“…Looking at the landscape, Conor McGregor [who last fought against Nurmagomedov in October] is No. 3 right now. If it’s not him, there’s not an open fight right now. So, that’s the fight I want. He’s No. 3. If he’s not going to fight, take him out of the rankings. I’d be cool with that, too, and we can move on from there.”
“I don’t know, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s in the rankings so he should be available,” Gaethje said, after being asked if he thinks McGregor is likely to take a fight with him. “I’m just sitting in my house in Colorado. I have no idea what the hell is going on with him. But he’s No. 3. He’s the only guy ranked ahead of me that doesn’t have a fight. He needs a fight to get back to the title shot. That’s me.
I don’t know what else to say about it. Unless he just does not want to fight me, if he wants to be that picky about it. I can’t control that. I’ll worry about things I can control. But I would definitely love to f— him up. Every time I get a chance to f— someone up who talks a lot of s—, it makes it more fun for me.
Now, will McGregor even be influenced by these comments if he sees them? It’s hard to say. Considering McGregor has fought many top tier fighters over the years, if he’s not on board to fight Gaethje, it’s likely over financial considerations.
Would Gaethje – McGregor do big numbers? Of course. But it’s not a title fight, and therefore, based off the UFC’s recent history, it couldn’t be a headliner for a pay-per-view. Further, it’s not really clear how the UFC’s new PPV deal with ESPN+ will impact McGregor’s business relationship with the promotion. So, the biggest hurdle to Gaethje – McGregor could be a new contract for the latter. Here’s hoping that gets worked out…