Justin Gaethje’s Targeting Khabib Nurmagomedov And Then Conor McGregor, Following Recent Bookings
Although there's been plenty of talk recently about Conor McGregor's title shot prospects, Justin Gaethje's confident he'll fight for the lightweight crown next.
There’s been plenty of talk recently that if Conor McGregor beats Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 the star will be tapped for another shot at the lightweight title. But, Justin Gaethje is focused on fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2020 and then McGregor….armed with the 155 title.
Gaethje says he’s next
For months there was speculation and debate about the possibility of Gaethje fighting McGregor, in what many believed would qualify as a title shot eliminator. But, then came word that McGregor was likely going to fight Cerrone next. Fast forward to today, and the fighters are going to battle in a welterweight contest on January 18th. The champ Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, is set to fight Tony Ferguson on April 18th.
So where does this leave Gaethje? Who has quickly taken out James Vick, Edson Barboza and Cerrone in his last three fights?
More recently Gaethje spoke with MMA Junkie, and while discussing his future, he said this:
“…I think I’m the next guy in line. The title fight is set and somebody needs to fight the winner of that fight. So that’s me. I got in this sport for one reason and that was to fight for a world title.”
“I get paid a lot of money when I beat Khabib and then fight Conor with the belt. I’ll be ready when the opportunities come. That’s my job now.”
“I don’t play ‘what if’s.’ I approach things and address things whenever they happen,” Gaethje said. “We’ll see what happens. I know Conor didn’t fight me for the title contender fight that would have had to happen if he was going to pass me for the belt. He hasn’t fought in so long. That didn’t happen, so right now I’m next.”
But will Gaethje get a title shot?
From a meritocratic perspective, there’s little doubt that Gaethje deserves to fight the winner of Khabib – Ferguson. He’s ranked #3, has been on a tear, and even if McGregor beats Cerrone, the former champ lost to Nurmagomedov last October.
But, we all know that money plays a massive, massive role in matchmaking. So, if McGregor is victorious at UFC 246, you know the UFC will take a long look at giving him another shot at the title. If that happens, and if Khabib beats Tony, it will be really interesting to see if the undefeated fighter agrees to fight McGregor again. Nurmagomedov has repeatedly argued McGregor needs to record several wins before getting another title shot.
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UFC 246 will be hosted by the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.