Justin Gaethje is ready for a step up in competition. He is coming off of a very impressive first-round knockout over Edson Barboza two weeks ago to extend his winning streak to two.
Now, the hope is Gaethje will get a high ranked fighter or a big name in the lightweight division. Although Gaethje knows Khabib Nurmagomedov will not be next, as he understands Dustin Poirier is next for him. But, he has his eyes on Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor.
“I believe the winner of tonight, deservedly so, gets a shot at Khabib, and I want to put myself in position to fight the winner of that fight,” Gaethje said (via MMA Junkie). “I think Tony (Ferguson) and Conor (McGregor) do that for me.”
However, Ferguson seems out of the picture due to the personal problems he is currently going through which Gaethje seems to understand.
“Tony is dealing with whatever he has to deal with,” Gaethje said of Ferguson. “I expect him to take as much time as he needs to come back 100 percent. I know he can come back right now. He’s a warrior, there’s no doubt about it.”
Not is Ferguson a question mark but so is McGregor. He has no idea if the former champ-champ will ever fight again. But, if he does, Gaethje wants that fight.
“Who f**k knows what’s happening with Conor?” he said. “But they either take him out of the rankings if he’s retired, or they keep him in the rankings and he has to fight somebody. If that’s me, cool. If that’s not me, cool, but there has to be some type of structure to what’s going on here. We can’t just keep floating around.
“I want to know what my path is, and you can’t do that by saying I’m retired and being in the rankings and being ranked ahead of me,” Gaethje added. “If you’re ranked ahead of me, you’re fighting for the title. He doesn’t deserve a title shot right now, so therefore it’s me or its Tony, and he has to pick one of us to fight.”