After a big KO win over Edson Barboza at UFC Philadelphia on Saturday, Justin Gaethje has yet to determine whom he intends to fight next. While he does plan to face all contenders ranked above him, he also has lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in his sights.
“It doesn’t matter to me (who I fight next),” Gaethje said in a post-fight media scrum (via MMAjunkie). “They’re going to pay me a lot of money, that’s what I’m here for.
“I want to be the world champion. I want to fight Khabib, I think I’m one of the biggest threats to his title and that’s my goal. Whoever I have to go through.”
Gaethje is confident he has the right skillset to overcome “The Eagle,” who remains undefeated in his nearly 11-year professional career.
“My ability to stop takedowns (would make me a bad matchup),” he said. “I am a Division 1 wrestler. I was a Division 1 All-American, I placed seventh in 2010 and my ability to scramble and avoid takedowns is something he’s never faced. And the power.
“He’s faced the power, but never with the ability to stop takedowns and scramble. The combination of the two.”
Khabib is currently serving a nine-month suspension for his involvement in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl last October. His suspension lapses by July, but UFC president Dana White is expecting him to be back by September.