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Justin Gaethje turned down fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 238: ‘It was four weeks notice’

Justin Gaethje reveals that he recently turned down a fight with Tony Ferguson.

Esther Lin

The UFC originally wanted to book a pivotal lightweight bout between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje for UFC 238 in Chicago, according to ‘The Highlight’.

Speaking to Aaron Bronsteter in a recent interview, Gaethje revealed that he rejected the fight due to it being on just four weeks notice.

“They called me to fight Tony [but] it was four weeks notice,” Justin Gaethje said, per LowKickMMA’s Abhinav Kini. “I can’t do that. I can’t go in there compromised. It’s a huge opportunity to miss out on but I asked them if they could push it until Saturday [UFC 239] and they couldn’t do it. ‘Cowboy’ got the bid.

“But yeah, I would love to fight Tony. I want to fight the Russian. I got to get through Tony, or through one of those guys.”

Ferguson went on to fight Donald Cerrone instead, beating ‘Cowboy’ via second-round TKO (doctor stoppage) and earning a title shot versus the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier.

Gaethje is interested in a fight with ‘El Cucuy’ but believes the former interim lightweight champ is deserving of the next title shot.

“I think Tony earned his shot at the title,” Gaethje said. “I think he would be foolish to fight me or anybody before he fought the winner of Khabib and Poirier. So yeah, that’s my answer.”

Gaethje, the former WSOF lightweight champion, last fought at UFC on ESPN 2 where he knocked out Edson Barboza in the first round of the main event, earning a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus for his efforts. The 30-year-old has earned post-fight bonuses in his five fights under the UFC banner and is considered one of the most exciting fighters in the world. Gaethje, who is currently without an opponent, is ranked at #5 in the UFC’s official lightweight rankings.