Justin Gaethje will ‘burn it all down’ if Conor McGregor is granted UFC title shot

UFC president Dana White said Gaethje will be Charles Oliveira’s next challenger for the lightweight belt

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Tuesday 21 December 2021 10:21
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UFC 4 - Conor McGregor

Justin Gaethje has said he will “burn down” the UFC if Conor McGregor is granted a lightweight title shot before him.

Gaethje outpointed Michael Chandler in a fight of the year contender in November, with UFC president Dana White then saying the victorious American would fight for the title at 155lbs in his next outing.

Charles Oliveira retained the belt against Dustin Poirier this month, effectively setting up a defence against Gaethje for 2022.

However, McGregor’s status as the biggest star in MMA history means he is seemingly never far from a title shot, something of which Gaethje is wary.

When asked by TMZ about the prospect of McGregor being Oliveira’s next challlenger, Gaethje said: “I’d burn it all down. F*****g burn it down, that’s what I’d do.

“[McGregor] is so irrelevant. He has not won a fight since 2016 in the lightweight division, I’m ranked No1. I saw they updated the rankings, I’m No. 1 now; that feels pretty good.

“My whole life I’ve been working towards this, that’s what’s next. If not, I f*****g burn it down. It doesn’t matter, I’ll show up and start throwing dollies everywhere. I don’t know what the answer is.”

Gaethje was referencing a 2018 incident in which McGregor threw a dolly at a bus with Khabib Nurmagomedov inside.

Former dual-weight UFC champion McGregor challenged Nurmagomedov for the lightweight belt later that year, but the Irishman was submitted by the Russian in the fourth round.

Two years later – in October 2020 – Nurmagomedov submitted then-interim lightweight champion Gaethje in the second round to retain the gold, before retiring undefeated.

Gaethje’s only fight since has been his clash with Chandler, while McGregor bounced back from his loss to Nurmagomedov by stopping Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds in a welterweight bout, only to lose twice to Poirier at lightweight this year.

“I would absolutely not allow [McGregor] to fight for the title if he did not win and go through the process,” Gaethje said.

“He’s not going to s*** on everything. There’s too many [contenders]: Beneil Dariush, Islam Makhachev – those are the guys that I would fight, not Conor McGregor. That’s not how this works.

“He’s becoming more and more irrelevant as time goes on. Pretty soon you won’t even be asking me these questions. It’s going to be a beautiful f*****g day.”

Oliveira’s submission win over Poirier this month marked the Brazilian’s first defence of the UFC lightweight title, which he won against Chandler in May after it was vacated by Nurmagomedov.

The result extended Oliveira’s win streak to 10 and enhanced his existing records of most finishes and most submission victories in UFC history.

“I don’t need to talk any s***,” Gaethje said of Oliveira. “He’s come so far. I saw him after the fight, I told him he deserves it.

“I said before, if he went out there and beat Poirier, I would give him all the credit in the world. So that’s what I’m giving him.

“He’s a formidable opponent, No1 in the world and I cannot wait to fight him in America, fight him in Brazil, fight him in Canada. Any of those three, I’m in.”

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