Friday night in Las Vegas, former WSOF champion Justin Gaethje made his triumphant UFC debut as he knocked out Michael Johnson in the second round of their main event scrap of the TUF 25 Finale.
Following the thrilling win, many immediately began to speculate as to who Gaethje should fight next, he spoke at the post-fight press conference where he reveled that he is targeting top ranked lightweight Tony Ferguson, in an effort to fast-track to the interim UFC lightweight championship.
With that being said however, Gaethje believes that Tony Ferguson will likely pass on the fight:
“He’ll probably say I’m not worthy. He lost to Michael Johnson; I just finished him. So he’ll be full of (expletive) when he says that.”
“Whoever gets me closer to an interim title right now. McGregor’s not here. So I’m going to get that interim title on my waist, and when he comes back, pressure.”
Justin Gaethje is of course referencing Ferguson’s loss to Michael Johnson five years ago, which was Ferguson’s most recent loss prior to going on his dominant nine-fight win streak.
The main event scrap did earn the praise of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor however, who took to social media to praise both fighters:
That was a good contest. Two fighters, fighting.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 8, 2017
Gaethje weighed-in on McGregor’s praise, saying:
“I’m in his weight class – he better be watching,” Gaethje said. “He has a big target on his back, and I’m aiming for it. So I expected him to watch. Thankful for the credit, obviously. He’s a fighter, I’m a fighter, and real recognizes real. I literally put it on the line, so you have to respect that.”
Only time will tell what’s next for Gaethje, however after a thrilling debut, he likely will have no shortage of potential opponents.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/8/2017.