Former interim UFC lightweight champion, Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje has recently shared his thoughts on lightweight rival, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor’s UFC 257 knockout loss to common-foe, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier in Abu Dhabi, UAE last weekend.
Gaethje, who like his Dominance MMA manager, Ali Abdelaziz, has long shared a rivalry with former two-weight world champion, McGregor, with a tentatively targeted matchup between the two halted from a July event last year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Drifting to #2 in the official lightweight pile following Poirier’s knockout victory over McGregor in a lightweight headliner last weekend, Gaethje hopes to rebound from his triangle submission loss to current champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov in October at UFC 254 in a title unification clash.
Linked with a potential title-eliminator alongside the streaking Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira, Gaethje has remained firm that he shouldn’t feature in a title fight, interim, vacant or otherwise in his next outing — citing his need to return to the winner’s enclosure first before challenging for Octagon gold.
Also scuppering plans for a possible matchup with McGregor, Gaethje headlined UFC 249 on short-notice in May, taking the interim 155-pound championship in a dominant, eventual fifth-round knockout win over the surging, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson — snapping the former interim titleholder’s division-tying twelve-fight winning run.
Speaking with ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto recently, Gaethje claimed McGregor would fair far worse when tasked with his kicks when compared to Poirier, before detailing how Team McGregor along with head coach, John Kavanagh are “f**king idiots” for pursuing an immediate trilogy matchup with Poirier, with vacant spoils up for grabs as soon as May.
“He (Conor McGregor) isn’t going to fight me, he just got his legs kicked off, I kick legs better than anybody in the UFC,” Gaethje said. “For him to come out and say he wants a title shot next in the rematch with Poirier, and his coach, they’re f**king idiots. He’s been treated special over and over and over and he didn’t capitalise on this opportunity.”
“That event (UFC 257) was for him, that event was for him to win and he wants to be ‘Mr. Humble’ now but you know he would have been an asshole if he had of won that fight. So, I don’t feel bad for him, I’m happy for (Dustin) Poirier, I’m happy Poirier went out there and did his job, finished him. I love seeing a loudmouth get knocked out, there’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing a piece of sh*t get put down. That was great, I loved it.”
Gaethje’s second-round submission loss to Nurmagomedov snapped a four-fight rise for the longtime Trevor Wittman trainee, following a quartet of knockout stoppages of the aforenoted, Ferguson, Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza, and James Vick. To find Gaethje’s most recent defeat, you must go back to UFC Fight Night Glendale in April of 2018 where he suffered a fourth-round knockout loss to the above mentioned, Poirier on home soil.