With the booking of Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz at UFC 241 in August, as well as Donald Cerrone vs. Tony Ferguson next month at UFC 238, the options for Conor McGregor’s looming return dwindled down quite a bit.
Now, it seems the leading candidate to welcome “Notorious” back into the Octagon is top Lightweight contender Justin Gaethje, owner of two straight first-round knockout victories over James Vick and Edson Barboza (see them here and here). And while Justin is more than willing to take on the mouthy Irishman, he won’t do it on short notice.
That’s according to his manager Ali Abdelaziz, who tells MMA Junkie that “The Highlight” will gladly dispose of “Notorious” as long as he has ample time to prepare.
“People want to chase this guy, Conor McGregor. If you want to come and get it – understand, if you give Gaethje eight weeks, Gaethje doesn’t take short-notice fights. Just to be clear, for everyone to know out there, Gaethje needs eight weeks,” said Ali.
“If you give Gaethje eight weeks and ask him to fight you, anybody, he’s going to fight. He’s not going to turn down any fights, right? But do you really think that Conor McGregor wants to go to as dark of a place as Justin Gaethje takes you? Do you believe so?”
While Conor has a reputation of being a hard worker in the gym, Ali believes it’s all for show, as he says what you see online isn’t always indicative of what’s actually going down.
“Conor McGregor is an Instagram model,” Abdelaziz said. “Conor McGregor, he just wants attention. He goes to the gym everyday, and they give him a spray bottle to make him look sweaty. But we know this guy doesn’t really train hard, because if you train hard, you can’t be losing. He hasn’t won a fight since 1996.”
Furthermore, the boisterous manager isn’t convinced Conor has the heart to last in a fight against a killer like Gaethje, who is known for pushing the pace even if he’s the wounded one in a fight. And should Justin get the big-money showdown, things won’t be pretty for UFC’s poster boy.
“If Justin Gaethje will fight Conor McGregor, it’s like slaughtering a pig, and he’s going to squeal and he’s going to be all red and blue on Monday night,” Abdelaziz said. “His legs will be like a rainbow color. His face would be like a watermelon, black and red,” he added. “We’ll give this white boy some color. We’ll give him a bloody tan. Justin Gaethje would eat his heart alive.”
UFC president Dana White recently indicated that his money-making machine would be returning to the cage sometime this summer. Meanwhile, Justin last competed in late March, so if he is given the proper time to prepare the stars could align for a big showdown against “Notorious.”
After all, when you look at the current landscape, there isn’t anyone else that makes much sense.