Former interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Gaethje wants to jump right back into the title mix against either Conor McGregor or Dustin Poirier.
Gaethje came up short in his quest to knock off the zero in UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov's unblemished record at UFC 254 last month. Immediately after the fight, Nurmagomedov announced his abrupt retirement from MMA. UFC President Dana White, however, is holding out hope that the undefeated Russian-born champion will return to the promotion.
Gaethje (22-3) recently spoke with "The Schmo" and expressed interest in fighting the winner of the upcoming UFC 257 headliner between McGregor and Poirier. That fight is scheduled for January 21.
“I guess I think he’s retired from competing other than maybe his bid farewell. “I’m number one so of course I want to fight for that fucking belt, that’s why I’m here,” Gaethje said (h/t to MMA Fighting). “Poirier and McGregor are fighting soon so I want to fight the winner of that. I wholeheartedly believe you should be coming off a win to fight for a belt. So my job now is to get a win. I want to fight for the belt and if it is the winner of that fight then I would, in turn, need to beat somebody first. But, I’ll definitely just fight the winner for the belt, I’m down with that, too. It’s a fun ride and it’s not over yet."
“It’s not over until we go crashing down," he concluded. "I’m having fun. Tough break last fight. It was an honor to fight against Khabib, it was fucking heartbreaking to lose, but I’ve been here before and I came back strong and I’ll continue to do the same thing.”