Justin Gaethje might be the No. 1-ranked lightweight contender in the world but, coming off a submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, ‘The Highlight’ knows he needs to get back in the winner’s column before he’s eligible for another crack at the title.
Gaethje would ideally like to fight the winner of Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor but is willing to fight another top contender to prove his worth.
“I’m number one so of course I want to fight for that f*cking belt, that’s why I’m here,” Gaethje told The Schmo in a recent interview (h/t MMA Fighting). “Poirier and McGregor are fighting soon so I want to fight the winner of that. I wholeheartedly believe you should be coming off a win to fight for a belt. So my job now is to get a win.”
With that said the former interim UFC lightweight champion wouldn’t pass up another title shot if the opportunity presents itself before he picks up another win.
“I want to fight for the belt and if it is the winner of that fight then I would, in turn, need to beat somebody first,” Gaethje said. “But, I’ll definitely just fight the winner for the belt, I’m down with that, too.”
Gaethje admits that it was ‘heartbreaking’ to lose to Nurmagomedov but is determined to come back stronger than ever and says it was an honor to test himself against one of the greatest fighters of all time.
“It’s a fun ride and it’s not over yet,” Gaethje concluded. “It’s not over until we go crashing down. I’m having fun. Tough break last fight. It was an honor to fight against Khabib, it was f*cking heartbreaking to lose, but I’ve been here before and I came back strong and I’ll continue to do the same thing.”
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor II is expected to take place next month, Jan. 23 at a to be determined location.