The UFC 249 main event is scheduled to be a lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and challenger Tony Ferguson, a fight that the UFC is trying to book for a fifth time. While the fight has both high stakes and rewards, in what some are calling the most important fight in UFC history, not everyone is completely optimistic that it’ll actually happen. Lightweight star Justin Gaethje certainly isn’t abundantly confident.
Gaethje is one of the UFC’s top-ranked lightweights, but doesn’t have a fight scheduled in the near future. While he wouldn’t fully commit to being a replacement fill-in if one was needed for Khabib vs. Ferguson at UFC 249.
During his appearance on MMA Tonight on Sirius XM, Gaethje was asked if he would be willing to be a replacement fighter if one was needed, and he wouldn’t provide a definite answer.
“I really want that fight to happen, I don’t want to wish anything, but that’s a good date to shoot for me to be ready because as we know, that fight tends to have problems sometimes.”
When he was asked if he’s specifically training to be ready for the April 18th date for UFC 249, Gaethje said not exactly, but he has been training for the moment.
“I mean, I wouldn’t say yes or no to that question cause I can’t ever train for something like that magnitude without having that there. But I’m also training for that goal which is the world championship. I’m not waking up with the mentality that I’m fighting Khabib right now on April 18th which is different than the goal I’ve had my whole life which is to be the best in the world.”
As the calendar has just turned over to 2020, Gaethje was asked about his plans for this year and he said he sees himself fighting for the UFC lightweight title.
“I’ll fight a title contender fight, a title contender, 100% title contender against anybody on April 18th co-main event, and then fight for the title against whoever wins that night [the title fight]. If it’s Tony hopefully sooner than September and if it’s Khabib than I’ll wait for Ramadan to pass, wait for him to train, then be ready to go in September.”
Who do you want to see Justin Gaethje fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/3/2020.