UFC lightweight contender Justin Gaethje says he’s excited to see Conor McGregor return to the Octagon, admitting his presence is “good for the sport.”
McGregor recently announced he is returning to the Octagon to take on Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout in the main event of UFC 246. Gaethje was gunning for the fight with McGregor himself, but ultimately the Irishman chose Cerrone as his next opponent.
Perhaps surprisingly considering the feud between the two, Gaethje isn’t holding any ill will towards McGregor for picking Cerrone as his next opponent instead of him. In fact, Gaethje says that he’s happy to see McGregor return to the Octagon and believes it ultimately helps the sport out.
Here’s what Gaethje said about McGregor (video via MMAjunkie.com).
“The truth is, I mean it’s good for the sport in general. He’s a true superstar. It’s good to have him back,” Gaethje said.
Gaethje said that the fact McGregor’s return fight is at welterweight and not at lightweight makes him feel better about not getting the fight. Although it was widely assumed McGregor’s next move would be to rematch UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov for the belt, instead Gaethje feels that McGregor is chasing the BMF title instead.
“I’m glad it’s at 170. When I saw it was at 170 I was not disappointed at all. Maybe he’s shooting for the BMF belt or something. That’s cool. I think he should do fights just like that. So it’s cool,” Gaethje said.
UFC president Dana White said recently that McGregor’s plan is to fight Jorge Masvidal next. The fact McGregor is taking these fights at 170 instead of getting a title shot at 155 gives a better opportunity to more deserving lightweights like Tony Ferguson and Gaethje to get into the title picture instead. Regardless of the weight class, the fact McGregor is back should help bring some more attention to the sport. Hate him or love him, that’s a good thing for everyone involved in MMA.
Do you agree with Justin Gaethje that Conor McGregor’s return to the Octagon is good for the sport?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/9/2019.