The rumors were true. Conor McGregor was — and perhaps still is — in talks over a possible bout with top-five UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje, who’s been calling out the Irishman for the better part of a year now.
Speaking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani in a recent interview, SBG Ireland head coach John Kavanagh said Gaethje was ‘right up there’ as a potential opponent for ‘The Notorious’ on International Fight Week (July 7-12, 2020).
“That was certainly...every time there is a, “There’s going to be a fight in three months’ time,’ I think you would be shocked by some of the names that come across the table. I just kinda go at this stage, ‘Yeah, okay...you’re kickboxing who?’...at this stage there’s just so many things that come across the table. I just say, ‘Look, guys, that’s your world.’ Audie, Paradigm and Conor are so good at that, at planning, strategy and negotiating, that I just say, ‘Yeah, give me a date when it comes.’ For me, I’m just focused that are booked, that are coming up. Obviously, Pedro was the big one for the gym there recently that didn’t go ahead. He had a world title shot coming up, so my concern was with that - fights that I know are coming,” Kavanagh said, per MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll.
“But yeah, [the Justin Gaethje fight in July] was one of the ones that was being talked about - that was right up there.”
While McGregor is currently on ‘lockdown’ due to coronavirus, Gaethje is rumored to face Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. Khabib was originally expected to defend his lightweight title against Ferguson in the main event but ‘The Eagle’ is currently stranded in Russia due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.
UFC 249 is expected to take place on April 18 at a venue TBA.