Against all odds, Justin Gaethje has managed to get himself a title shot. While a fight between him and Khabib Nurmagomedov may not be as anticipated as a fight between Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, it’s still an exciting fight.
Dana White thinks the same, and when it comes to how Conor McGregor fits into the picture, he thinks that McGregor should just wait and try not to get involved right now.
Conor McGregor at the start of 2020
After a year away from the sport, McGregor made his return to the octagon in force. He fashioned himself as a brand-new McGregor, someone who wasn’t as troubled as he was in the past. In his interviews leading up to his comeback fight against Donald Cerrone, the former champ was calmer and happier than before.
McGregor easily knocked Cerrone out in less than a minute, so he may have been serious about becoming a new man. He wanted 2020 to be his year, but of course, things didn’t really turn out that way for him or for the world. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stopped any fights from happening for a month, and McGregor and the UFC’s plans had to be changed.
One of those biggest changes involved UFC 249, which was originally going to be Nurmagomedov’s fight against Ferguson. Nurmagomedov couldn’t get into the U.S., so Justin Gaethje got the fight instead. Gaethje shocked everyone and knocked Ferguson out after five bloody rounds, and now, Gaethje is slated to fight Nurmagomedov later in the year.
A preview of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje
The main thing that excites fans about this matchup is the fact that Gaethje may be able to stop Nurmagomedov in the one thing that he does best, wrestling. Gaethje was an accomplished wrestler in college, so he may have the skills to stop the champ from taking him down and beating him up.
That said, while Gaethje can wrestle, he rarely does that in the octagon. He loves to hit people, and he doesn’t mind getting hit. This makes his fights very exciting to watch, and it’s also why he’s won so many performance bonuses.
However, this strategy can also go wrong. For example, Gaethje has lost twice in the UFC, once to Eddie Alvarez, and once to Dustin Poirier. Nurmagomedov happens to have a win over Poirier, so that’s saying something.
How this fight will go ultimately depends on whether or not Nurmagomedov can take Gaethje down. Few people have avoided his takedowns, so in all likelihood, Nurmagomedov will get Gaethje down, and the champ will stay undefeated.
What Dana White said about Conor McGregor and this fight
As MMAFighting wrote, White said that, in his opinion, McGregor should, “[Let] this Gaethje-Khabib fight play out and then he fights the winner.” White also said that he thought this was the smartest move for McGregor. But, White stressed that this was just his opinion and that there’s no guarantee that McGregor will be happy to sit by and watch.
However, White, being the businessman that he is, has backup plans. White also said that, “Maybe [McGregor] wants to fight before that and if he does, we can figure something out.”
McGregor, being as popular as he is, has plenty of options if this is the path that he wants. However, recently McGregor shocked the world by suddenly announcing his retirement. This isn’t the first time he’s done this, so his fighting days could be far from over.
Put simply, McGregor doesn’t like Nurmagomedov, and he’s been trying to get a rematch for a while now. This could mean that he wants to fight Nurmagomedov no matter who wins the fight, but it could also mean that he thinks that the champ will remain the champ for some time. No matter what though, these fights should all be very exciting to watch.