Conor McGregor Wants Justin Gaethje Fight, But Khabib Nurmagomedov Likelier Next Opponent

Posted on: May 12, 2020, 09:27h. 

Last updated on: May 12, 2020, 10:29h.

Conor McGregor went on a Twitter tirade after Justin Gaethje (22-2) upset Tony Ferguson (25-4) in UFC 249 Saturday night to become the interim lightweight champion (155 pounds).

Justin Gaethje Conor McGregor
After beating Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje (pictured) is a wanted man by Conor McGregor. (Image: Douglas DeFelice/Getty)

Gaethje filled in Saturday for current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0). The undefeated champ had to withdraw from the fight because of travel restrictions surrounding COVID-19 that kept him in his native Russia.

Ferguson was favored ahead of UFC 249 at -190, and Gaethje the underdog at +160. With the upset, bettors won $160 for every $100 wagered on Gaethje.

Now the interim lightweight champ, the likely scenario is to pit Khabib vs. Gaethje. But McGregor (22-4), a former lightweight and featherweight (145 pounds) champion, believes he first should have a go at Gaethje.

Who Should Fight Khabib?

McGregor’s last UFC fight was one few mixed martial arts fans will soon forget. More than a year and three months since he had last stepped foot in the Octagon, it took McGregor just 40 seconds to TKO Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in January of 2020.

The Notorious says he should be the one next up for Gaethje. “The fans make the sport! Watching the other night, I was against going in without them. But it will be my f***ing pleasure to display the power I possess with zero background noise for them,” Conor tweeted.

It’s me and Justin next, as Khabib is the biggest bottle fighter in the game,” the Irishman continued. “Justin … try and dance around what the real threat is here all you want. I’m going to f***ing butcher you.”

Conor opened as the favorite in the hypothetical match against Gaethje at -133, and Justin the underdog at +114.

As for one-on-one scenarios against Khabib, Nurmagomedov is the heavy favorite against McGregor at -400. The line implies odds of 80 percent, a $100 winning bet netting $25. Khabib is also favored against Gaethje at -285.

McGregor had some choice word for Khabib, too. “Khabib, you absolute embarrassment. Scurrying, hiding rat as usual,” McGregor fired off. “An embarrassment to real fighting.”

Manager Dismisses McGregor

Both Khabib and Gaethje are managed by Ali Abdelaziz, and he says it’ll be his two superstars that square off next for the lightweight title.

“He [McGregor] had a chance to fight Justin in January, and he picked Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone instead. He picked the easier fight,” Abdelaziz told ESPN.

“Now, the two kings of the division will fight. Maybe Conor can fight someone in the co-main event,” the manager added.

One potential opponent is UFC welterweight (170 pounds) star Nate Diaz, who McGregor told earlier this month on Instagram to “sign the contract.” Conor said that, following his projected victories against Gaethje and Khabib, he will jump up to welterweight. “After this division demolition job. It is 170 lbs. See you in July!” McGregor tweeted.

As for a Diaz-McGregor fight, oddsmakers have Conor favored at -250, and Diaz the underdog at +180.