While Conor McGregor has long been the fight every Lightweight or Welterweight fighter wanted a few years ago, it seems most have shifted their attention to current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 155-pound champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
And it isn’t so much because it will draw a huge payday like a matchup with “Notorious” would, it’s more for the monumental challenge a fight against “The Eagle” presents. One man who has been trying to lock down a fight against both Conor and Khabib is Justin Gaethje, the hard-hitting Lightweight who has won his last three bouts via first round knockout.
For Justin, testing himself against the dominant force from Dagestan is something he simply has to do before the undefeated (28-0, 12-0) champion retires.
“I’m trying to get to Khabib,” Gaethje said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “Khabib, I know, has publicly stated he does not have many fights left, so I have to fight him before he goes away.”
“I can’t let him go undefeated without at least testing, being able to test him myself. I consider myself one of the most dangerous lightweights in the world and I bring different things that Khabib hasn’t had to deal with, necessarily,” stated Justin, who says his overall arsenal is more than enough to give Khabib trouble likes he’s never encountered.
“I have crazy power in my legs, in my arms, in my hands. I’m really good at wrestling. I’m super athletic. I’ve been wrestling as long as he has. Nobody has wrestled as long as he has except for me. So I’m trying to ultimately get that fight.”
A fight against Nurmagomedov will have to wait, as Khabib is lined up to defend his belt against Tony Ferguson, another man who’s been gunning for “The Eagle” for some time. And since his 12 straight wins trumps Justin’s three, “Highlight” will have to wait a bit.
As far as Khabib vs Ferguson, Justin is picking “The Eagle” to come out on top.
“I do think Khabib will win,” Gaethje said. “But I do think Tony is going to bring some … I don’t know if he’s going to lay on his back and throw elbows, I don’t know what the hell is going to happen there,” he added.
“Especially the way Khabib fights, and the way Khabib wins. It’s crazy how much and how hard Tony gets hit, how often he gets hit at fights but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem for him in this fight because Khabib is not going to be looking to exploit that, that option.”
“He’s going to do what he does. I’m really interested to see if Tony, his jiu-jitsu, for one, plays a factor, and for two, just his tenaciousness of being on bottom and still wanting to fight.”
Gaethje was last seen knocking out Donald Cerrone in the opening frame this past September. As far as Justin locking down a fight against McGregor, that prize has now gone to “Cowboy.”