Justin Gaethje, who was in attendance for UFC 236 on Saturday night, is hoping to keep marching toward a UFC lightweight title shot as Dustin Poirier and Khabib Nurmagomedov look to unify their titles later this year.
Speaking to the media backstage, the former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion divulged that he’s got his eyes on two potential opponents in particular: 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.”
Unfortunately for Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson isn’t available for a fight just yet. The former interim champ is currently working through some personal issues.
“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.”
Conor McGregor is also a bit of a question mark a present, continually floating between retirement and fighting again. Gaethje isn’t sure what we can expect from the Irishman and seems to be getting tired of wondering.
“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.”
Who do you want to see Justin Gaethje fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/14/2019.