If your MMA viewing is limited to just the UFC, then you may not be aware Gaethje was the lightweight champ with World Series of Fighting, for some time. Following a win over Luiz Firmino last December, the 17-0 fighter entered free agency, and ended up signing with the UFC.
Well, Gaethje will take on Johnson in his first Octagon bout, as the two are booked to fight at the TUF 25 Finale on July 7th. Recently the 28 year-old was a guest on the UFC’s “Unfiltered” podcast, and Gaethje had this to say about Mr. McGregor (quote via MMA Fighting):
“Skill wise, there’s nobody that’s gonna outwork me. He’ll outtalk me, that’s for damn sure but he ain’t gonna outwork me. His skillset is special, he’s got a great left hand. But we’ve seen him quit. He’s got quit in his heart and once a quitter, always a quitter.”
“I’m gonna get that opportunity. I’m gonna get the interim belt around my waist and then when he comes back, he has to fight me. [I’ll] make it a dogfight, make it a war, everything he doesn’t want it to be.
“Absolutely [I’m calling for a title shot after my fight]. Like I said, if I get that belt around my waist, there’s no question who he has to fight when he comes back…”
Now, if you’ve seen Gaethje fight, then you know he’s a ridiculously aggressive and entertaining fighter to watch. So, on paper, McGregor – Gaethje has the makings of something special.
But, Gaethje has a ways to go before a fight with McGregor’s even a possibility. Since Johnson is currently ranked #5, then a win over “The Menace” would certainly put Gaethje within reach of a title shot. But, in a division with the likes of Tony Ferguson, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Edson Barboza etc, chances are Gaethje would need to score another win, before challenging for the belt.