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Justin Gaethje’s plan? Dethrone Khabib and then defend lightweight title against McGregor

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“When I beat Khabib and I beat Conor, what run in the history of the sport has been better?”

UFC Fight Night: Weigh-Ins Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Justin Gaethje is looking to make history following his fifth-round TKO win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.

‘The Highlight’ wants to become the first man to dethrone Khabib Nurmagomedov and then, following that, defend his lightweight title against Conor McGregor to cement his legacy as one of, if not the, greatest fighters of all-time.

But it has to be in that order, Gaethje told Joe Rogan on a recent episode of JRE.

“I do. I want to shut him up. I’d love that. I really would,” Gaethje said when asked if he’d like to fight Conor McGregor (h/t MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew).

“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, 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.”

Ideally, after beating Khabib and McGregor, Gaethje would like to avenge his TKO loss to Dustin Poirier and then hang up the gloves and retire.

“Fight Poirier and then get the f*ck out of here,” he 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.”

Gaethje is on a four-fight win streak and recently disposed of ‘El Cucuy’ to capture the interim lightweight title. The former WSOF lightweight champ has won his last four fights via KO/TKO and finished all but one of his opponents (Ferguson) in the first round.