During his 40 minute mea culpa on ESPN for getting caught punching some old guy at a pub, Conor McGregor revealed some interesting news: he was preparing to fight in July before a thumb injury derailed things, and the leading contender for that date was one Justin Gaethje, one of our favorite swang n’ bang lightweights.
TMZ caught up with Gaethje following that revelation, and he admitted he’d never learned how close he was to a big money ‘red panty night.’
”That was the first time I heard that,” Gaethje admitted. “I was training for a fight, he broke his hand early. So I think even before it would have gotten to me he broke his hand and it didn’t come together. But yeah, it makes me happy. Cowboy’s number 4 and he’s number 3 so after I get through Cowboy it’s onto the next, and that’s him.”
”All he has to do is fart and we all talk about it so he makes the final decision right now, which you have to give him props for. I’m sure he’s not lying, but he did name a lot of names so it looks like he’s trying to get back into the mix of things so I’m happy about that.”
As for whether he thinks he’ll fight McGregor in the future?
”I feel like I’ll fight him one day,” he said. “Probably after Cowboy. The winner of this fight, so long as it’s impressive. If he’s coming back, it has to be someone like me, like Cowboy. It ain’t gonna be a Tony. It could be the loser of Khabib vs. Poirier, but I doubt he wants to do that. So the next option is the winner of me vs. Cowboy if he wants back into the mix. He’s ranked number 3 right now, that’s crazy to me. But he’s got a lot of power.”
”He hasn’t fought in two and a half years, but he just has to fight and we’re talking about it. He brings the most attention, he’s the biggest superstar in this sport, he’s not even fighting and he’s still the biggest superstar. So of course I want to f**k him up. I see him punch an old man, do I want to punch him for that? F**k yeah, I want to f**k that dude up for s**t like that. He looks like a crackhead on your video.”
But McGregor is just a sideshow. What Gaethje wants to do is keep climbing to that lightweight strap, which comes with a more consistent and reliable money stream than a one pop McGregor fight.
”I want the Russian right now,” Gaethje said, referencing current lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov. “I’ll go out there and show Conor how to fight that man. You get your ass whupped and then you say the man ran from you? He dropped you and he beat your ass and made you tap. He made you say uncle or nanny or sissy or whatever.”
“I think he should enjoy his money,” he said with a laugh. “We all get into this to make enough money to get out of this. But he’s got a big ass ego, I’m sure it’s going to get him knocked out one or two more times.”