Justin Gaethje has been in a bit of a holding pattern since knocking out Donald Cerrone back in September of 2019. The brawler has been in and out of conversations about fighting for the title or Conor McGregor ever since, and six months later that’s still where he remains with neither fight seemingly any closer to fruition.
Gaethje was in attendance at UFC 248 over the weekend and clarified his current situation, revealing to ESPN that he had turned down a fight with Dan Hooker and is waiting until he gets his shot at the lightweight strap or McGregor. And don’t even ask him what he’ll do if McGregor gets a title shot first without fighting him.
”I’ll get fired. I’ll punch [White] in the f---ing nose,” Gaethje said. “If you’re going to take away an opportunity off my table, then I’m going to f---ing fight you. I don’t know what you want me to do. It’s not fair, and I’m not going to stand for it. I’m very levelheaded. I respect the boss. But if he f**king tries ... that, I’m going to war.”
As for why the UFC seems so reluctant to book the obvious #1 contender fight between Gaethje and McGregor?
”He can’t lose how you lose to me,” Gaethje told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter. “If he loses how you lose to me, he can never be Conor McGregor again. He can never say the things that Conor McGregor says. He can get tapped out. He can get submitted two more times in there and still talk like Conor McGregor. But to lose to me? There’s only one way to lose. Someone’s gotta die, me or you. Metaphorically.”
.@Justin_Gaethje on why the UFC doesn't want to book him against Conor McGregor: "You can't lose how you lose to me. He can't. If he loses how you lose to me, he can never be Conor McGregor again." pic.twitter.com/8DmX2izydl— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) March 7, 2020
As far as Dana White’s repeated insistance that Gaethje knows why he seems to keep getting the cold shoulder from the organization lately, Gaethje could only shrug it off.
”Dana White knows it’s because of politics and money,” he said. “We all know that. It’s not a lie or a secret. I don’t know what that man’s ... I don’t know what he’s talking about. I don’t know what ... I knew what he was talking about as much or the same as I knew [when] I was supposed to fight Conor. They said they offered it, he put that out in the media. They never f**king called me. They never said a word to me. That’s all bulls**t.”
”[McGregor] is the cash cow. We all need him. I need him, you need him, Dana needs him,” Gaethje continued. “But yeah, If you take food off my table, I’m going to go to f**king war with you. I want a say in my destiny and I’m not going to allow politics to take that from me.”
He’s got an ace up his sleeve in the form of his manager Ali Abdelaziz, who also manages Khabib Nurmagomedov and insists Khabib won’t fight Conor before the Irish sports star beats a proper 155 pound contender. But in the end the UFC usually gets what it wants. Gaethje just has to hope he’s involved in those desires somewhere.
”It’s crazy what I’m dealing with, but I just have to sit here and be ready.”