Conor McGregor had a few options at his disposal for his long-awaited UFC return, but ultimately chose to lock horns with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone later this month at UFC 246 in Las Vegas.
Needless to say, McGregor’s return to action is one of the biggest moments of the year, as the UFC cash cow hasn’t competed since getting choked out by Khabib Nurmagomedov back at UFC 229. That’s why McGregor’s selection for his return opponent was such a highly-publicized process. Luckily for “Cowboy,” he will get the next crack at “Notorious.”
The way things played out doesn’t sit well with streaking lightweight contender Justin Gaethje, who has been lobbying for a fight against McGregor for practically all of 2019. Not only will “Highlight” have to take a back seat to Cerrone as he welcomes McGregor back to the cage, but Gaethje also has to deal with the possibility of McGregor leapfrogging him in line for a shot at Khabib’s UFC lightweight title.
While Gaethje has the right to be upset with UFC and its unavoidable game of politics and money making, McGregor has done enough in the sport to lock down a rematch with Nurmagomedov should he defeat “Cowboy” later this month at UFC 246. It’s not a popular decision for many fight fans who believe Gaethje’s three-straight, first-round knockout finishes should earn him a shot at 155-pound gold, but that’s the world we live in.
Fortunately for Gaethje, McGregor has already taken notice of his success and would be more than willing to settle their beef inside of the cage. There is no specific time table for such a matchup, but “Notorious” isn’t ruling out a quick turnaround fight with Gaethje once his 2020 comeback campaign officially begins.
“He’s on the list. He is on the list,” McGregor said of Gaethje in a recent interview with The Mac Life. “Maybe I will face him next. Maybe I’ll face him next, you know? He has it coming to him. I mean laugh at how Justin is behaving. He’s a funny guy. He’s been taking it very to heart, you know? And I know the feeling when you do that. So maybe I’ll get through Donald and I’ll have a quick turnaround against Justin. So maybe that’s what will happen. But Justin is on the list, no doubt.”
Remember, McGregor and Gaethje were in talks to fight one another back in July before a hand injury sidelined the Irishman until 2020. It would have been one heck of a matchup as Gaethje was willing to stand and bang with the heavy-handed McGregor, but it’s a lightweight showdown fight fans will have to wait and see at some other time.
With McGregor back in the mix and already calling his next shots it’s hard to determine what’s actually going to transpire over the next 12 months. But considering “Notorious” wants to fight three times in 2020 it’s highly likely that UFC takes advantage of Gaethje’s growing notoriety and slots him against McGregor in what would be one of the best standup wars the sport has to offer.