Justin Gaethje‘s gearing up for a title run, and the UFC star tells us he has the facility to dethrone champ Islam Makhachev … however he is aware of he has to earn the combat, and he is able to run by way of Dustin Poirier to show his worthiness!
34-year-old Gaethje, the #3 ranked UFC light-weight, joined Babcock on the “TMZ Sports activities” TV present (airs weekdays on FS1) … the place we talked about every part from who he needs subsequent, to how he’d fare in opposition to the present champ, to how for much longer he sees himself preventing, and Conor McGregor just lately calling him “handicap” on Twitter.
On who Gaethje, who’s coming off a dominating win over fellow contender Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286 in March, needs subsequent:
“I feel that is the apparent selection, Dustin. He is sitting at quantity 2 proper now, I gave the brand new guys an opportunity and I proved that I’m elite, and I have to combat elite fighters to combat for a belt. I feel Dustin’s the apparent selection. I feel the loser of Dariush and Oliveira can also be an choice, however outdoors of these two, I don’t see an choice.”
FYI, Justin and Dustin fought again in 2018 … a basic combat that Poirier gained by fourth-round TKO.
After all, Islam, who was simply in battle with 145 lb. king Alex Volkanovski (Makhachev gained by the thinnest margin), is the light-weight champ. We requested Justin how a combat between the boys would look.
“I feel [Islam is] a tough combat for anyone. Simply create harm. I might need to combat the proper combat,” Gaethje instructed us, including he acknowledges he would not be on the Dagestani fighter’s degree in terms of “submission grappling,” however Justin believes along with his energy, he can shut anybody’s lights out.
“I feel I can knock him out. I feel I can knock anyone out with the facility that I possess.”
We requested Gaethje, who misplaced by submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2020 at UFC 254, to match The Eagle and Makhachev.
“I feel they’re very related. I feel the most important distinction is Islam has been completed. He is misplaced a combat. He is been completed. In order that aura of invincibility is there, however it’s not primarily based on 100% info like Khabib has, I feel that is the most important issue, the most important distinction.”
We additionally talked to Gaethje about retirement.
“I’ve by no means thought of retirement. I have not thought of my life after retirement. I am nonetheless working for the purpose that I’ve set for myself,” Justin stated, explaining he has religion that his household and buddies would inform him when it is time to cling up the gloves. However, that is seemingly years away, in line with JG, who believes he is simply hitting his stride as a fighter.
“34, I feel we’re at our peak, mentally, bodily. Between 34 and 36, so I am unable to see myself being accomplished within the subsequent two years. I might say two to 4 years is def a timeline that is smart. I am not making an attempt to combat once I’m 40, and after 36, I do not see myself getting higher.”
Lastly, Conor just lately tweeted “Justin Gaethje is a handicap,” earlier than deleting the message shortly after. We requested JG for his response.
“One in all my greatest approaches in life is to make all people suppose you are silly after which go right into a dialog or state of affairs the place you possibly can make the most of all people feeling like that. It performs completely into my arms. I like when folks suppose I am handicapped or dumb — that is not a man, I do not imagine I am going to ever combat him.”
Gaethje vs. McGregor is a combat followers clamored over for years … however Justin says the man merely would not need to step foot in The Octagon with him.
“Clearly followers perceive it, they perceive [Conor] will not combat me. Plain and easy, he will get to decide on who he fights, and he is very particularly selecting not me.”