Former interim UFC lightweight champion and current #2 ranked contender, Justin Gaethje has claimed that if former duel-weight champion, Conor McGregor receives a shot at Octagon gold with a win over expected next-opponent, Michael Chandler later this year, he would likely leave the Dana White-led organization.

Gaethje, a former interim gold holder under the promotion’s banner, most recently co-headlined UFC 286 earlier this month in London, England – halting the run of Rafael Fiziev in a close, back-and-forth majority decision success.

The victory returned Arizona back to the winner’s enclosure, after he had unsuccessfully challenged for undisputed lightweight gold against former champion, Charles Oliveira on home soil in the ‘Copper State’ last May.

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As for McGregor, the Dubliner, who is without a lightweight victory since a 2016 coronation against common-foe, Eddie Alvarez, has been out of action since headlining UFC 264 back in July 2021, fracturing his left tibia and fibula in a first round doctor’s stoppage TKO loss against another common-opponent, Dustin Poirier.

Justin Gaethje would likely depart the UFC if Conor McGregor is granted title tilt

Himself targeting an end-of-summer Octagon comeback – potentially in a rematch with fellow former interim titleholder, Poirier, Gaethje claimed he would “probably” leave the organization if McGregor is granted a title tilt with a win over Missouri veteran, Chandler.

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“Would I quit if Conor (McGregor won and they [the UFC] gave him a title shot? Probably,” Justin Gaethje told ESPN during a recent interview. “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,” Justin Gaethje explained. “We can imagine a lot of things, but there’s a possibility that that’s the scenario [that happens]. Which I would be devastated [about], for sure.” 

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Without a professional victory since January of 2020, McGregor defeated another common-opponent, Donald Cerrone with a 40-second TKO at the welterweight limit.

Gaethje also recently felt the wrath of Crumlin striker, McGregor earlier this week, the 34-year-old labelling the former interim champion a “handicap” in a now-deleted Twitter post

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.