Conor McGregor snapped back at Justin Gaethje after ‘The Highlight’ said he would walk away from the UFC should McGregor earn a title opportunity with a win over Michael Chandler.
‘The Notorious’ is currently slated for a return to the Octagon this fall following a stint on the promotion’s long-running reality series The Ultimate Fighter opposite ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler. McGregor has already expressed his desire to compete for UFC gold should he walk away with a win over the former Bellator champion. However, that decision could very well cost the promotion one of their top lightweight contenders.
Speaking with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Justin Gaethje revealed that he would likely walk away from the UFC altogether if they reward Conor McGregor with a title fight after securing just one victory in nearly four years’ time.
“Would I quit if Conor won and they gave him a title shot? Probably,” Gaethje told ESPN. “That’s how hurt I would be by the actions of the company I represent. But that’s out of my control. I just really hope that doesn’t happen. We can imagine a lot of things, but there’s a possibility that that’s the scenario, which I would be devastated, for sure.”
Conor McGregor Responds to ‘Braindead Fool’ Justin Gaethje
Conor McGregor quickly responded to ‘The Highlight’ on Twitter, calling out the irony in Gaethje’s comments considering he himself earned a title opportunity off the back of a win over Michael Chandler at UFC 268.
“This braindead fool got a title shot off of one single win and it was vs chandler,” McGregor tweeted. “Yet he will quit and retire if I get the same thing. Classic gathje bird brain. #Jackass Two Title attempt. No wins.”
Justin Gaethje received his first UFC title opportunity against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 in 2020. Following his successful defense by way of submission, Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from mixed martial arts, vacating the 155-pound crown shortly after. ‘The Highlight’ wouldn’t fight again until almost a year later when he went to war with Michael Chandler. Gaethje returned to the win column, solidifying himself another shot at capturing the UFC lightweight championship against Charles Oliveira in May 2022.
Though Conor McGregor is correct about Justin Gaethje receiving a title opportunity following a lone win over Michael Chandler, the circumstances were far different. The title had been vacated by Nurmagomedov forcing the promotion to book a bout between two of the division’s top contenders. There was no established titleholder.
Justin Gaethje is 6-2 in his last eight contests, both losses coming against reigning or eventual UFC lightweight champions while McGregor has dropped three of his last four inside the Octagon with the lone victory coming against a past-his-prime Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. ‘The Notorious’ may have a point, but the fact remains that Gaethje has something McGregor does not in more than three years; a win.