Justin Gaethje shook the MMA world after his spectacular performance against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. He ended ‘El Cucuy’s’ legendary 12 fight win streak and won the interim lightweight belt at the end of the night. The 31-year-old is considered one the most exciting fighters in the UFC and for good reason. ‘The Highlight’ has won nine performance of the night bonuses in his seven outings to the Octagon.
Gaethje recently made an appearance at The Joe Rogan Experience podcast (transcribed by MMA Fighting) and opened up on his current run in the UFC and his plans for the future.
“I’m in a great position because, for one, I get to fight for a title,” Gaethje said. “There are 500 some odd people on this roster, every single one of them would want to be in my position right now. But I also have the ability to bring some kind of rhyme or reason, a way, a way to a title shot. For young guys that come in, they think politics run the show. They ultimately do, but there is a small chance that you will have a say in your destiny and eliminate politics. That’s what I just did. Politics were gonna f*** me. I wasn’t going to get the fight. Conor was going to somehow or some way get that fight. Now, I got the chance to go out there and I did what I did. ”
Ferguson was originally scheduled to face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 249. But the infamous bout was eventually cancelled after ‘The Eagle’ was unable to leave Russia, due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Having stepped in and beaten Tony, Gaethje is now set to face the champion later in the year to unify the UFC lightweight title.
When asked if he would rather take the money fight with Conor McGregor next instead of fighting Khabib, Gaethje made his plans perfectly clear.
“I do. I want to shut him up. I’d love that. I really would,” Gaethje said. I could fight him right now if I wanted to. Everyone is going to say that I’m lying, that if it was there I would take it. Daniel Cormier said that the other day. I’m not that fighter. For one, I have an opportunity to do something that can be unmatched in the history of our sport. To go in there, to come off the circumstances, to beat Tony like I did, to go beat Khabib, go beat Conor, that’s legendary. . .
“When I beat Khabib and I beat Conor, what run in the history of the sport has been better? Coming off two losses, getting counted out. That’s what I’m here for. I can inspire the world.”
No one could argue that if Gaethje were to beat Ferguson, Khabib and then McGregor back-to-back, that would be one of the most impressive streaks in the history of the UFC lightweight division. And you can add Dustin Poirier’s name to Justin’s hit list.
“Fight Poirier and then get the f*** out of here,” Gaethje said. “That’s all I need. What do I need after that? That’d be legendary, I’d make plenty of money – which is ultimately what I’m here to do – and I took control of my destiny, which is all I asked for. Business wise, the smart move right now could be to fight Conor, because obviously that’s a lot of money, but I make way more money when I beat Khabib and then fight. And if Conor’s not there, I’ll fight Poirier. He’s not on my list. Khabib and Poirier are the two on my list right now. If I fight them two, with big paydays, then I’m good. “
Do you give Justin Gaethje a chance of beating Tony Ferguson, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor back-to-back?