Justin Gaethje is in an interesting position in the lightweight division. The most exciting fighter on roster, Gaethje’s aggressive brawling style eventually caught up with him with a pair of losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, and it looked like Gaethje may ave found his ceiling in the . But in his last couple of fights, Gaethje has relied on a more patient style and the results speak for themselves: two one punch knockouts and two Performance of the Night bonuses. Now Gaethje is only a win or two away from a title shot but there is one major problem, almost everyone else at the top of the lightweight division is already booked.

Fortunately for Gaethje, there is one open opponent available that would make sense for him, and it just so happens to be the man he most wants to fight, outside of a title shot: Conor McGregor.

“I’m ranked No. 5 right now,” Gaethje told ESPN. “There are four guys and the champion in front of me. I’m looking for one of those guys, and I’m looking for a big fight this summer. I don’t want to fight guys ranked behind me. I’ve got two knockouts in a row. James Vick was ranked behind me. I feel I deserve someone in front of me.

“Looking at the landscape, is No. 3 right now. If it’s not him, there’s not an open fight right now. So, that’s the fight I want. He’s No. 3. If he’s not going to fight, take him out of the rankings. I’d be cool with that, too, and we can move on from there.”

Unfortunately for Gaethje, McGregor’s status remains a mystery. Though previously saying he was targeting a July return to the cage, McGregor then went on to announce his retirement, seemingly as part of contract negotiations with the . He then made comments suggesting that he would be returning this year, but the opponents who were rumored to be in consideration for McGregor have now been booked, with Donald Cerrone taking on Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz set to face Anthony Pettis. But that could play in Gaethje’s favor as McGregor needs at least one win before he can challenge for the title and Gaethje is one of the few fights left that makes sense for him, if McGregor would accept the fight, which Gaethje is unsure of.

“I don’t know [if he will accept the fight with me]. As far as I’m concerned, he’s in the rankings so he should be available,” Gaethje said. “I’m just sitting in my house in Colorado. I have no idea what the hell is going on with him. But he’s No. 3. He’s the only guy ranked ahead of me that doesn’t have a fight. He needs a fight to get back to the title shot.

“I don’t know what else to say about it. Unless he just does not want to fight me, if he wants to be that picky about it. I can’t control that. I’ll worry about things I can control. But I would definitely love to f*ck him up. Every time I get a chance to f*ck someone up who talks a lot of sh*t, it makes it more fun for me.”

If not McGregor, Gaethje will be forced to play the waiting game. Current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will most likely be defending his title against Dustin Poirier in September. After that, it’s hard to imagine the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone wouldn’t get the next lightweight title shot. That means Gaethje will have to keep waiting or find someone in the interim, potentially a rematch with Poirier who he doesn’t think stands much of a chance against Nurmagomedov.

“I don’t give Poirier much of a shot,” Gaethje said. “Maybe a 16 percent shot. I think Khabib is going to take him down immediately, or create some kind of scramble immediately. I don’t think Poirier stops his takedowns.”

In the meantime though, Gaethje is staying focused on the possible McGregor fight. McGregor is reportedly still in negotiations with the , attempting to get what he feels he is worth. Gaethje just hopes it gets settled soon so he can knock him out.

“The needs to handle their business and put him in the cage, so I can f*ck him up.”


Ali. Ali Abdelaziz talks making of Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar, gives updates on , Cody Garbrandt, more.

Scumbag. Artem Lobov calls Paulie Malignaggi a ‘scumbag’ for actions.

Moved. Junior dos Santos vs. Francis Ngannou moved from UFC 239 to Minneapolis main event.

Probation. Josh Copeland pleads guilty to assault charges, receives two years probation.


The story of The Lion’s Den.

Parillo lobbying for Conor vs. RDA.

The Schmo with Beneil Dariush.

Khabib training during Ramadan.


Eurobash. Interviews with Leon Edwards, Roberto Soldic, and Scott Askham.

Discussing Rashad Evans to the Hall of Fame.


Statement.

Court McGee giving back.

Askren calling his shot.

Greenville poster.

Shade.

Call out.

Vitor.

This seems cool.

Motivation from Tony.

Izzy dancing.


Poll

Would you like to see Gaethje vs. McGregor?

  • 0%
    No, there are other fights I’d prefer.

    (0 votes)

  • 0%
    Yes, obviously.

    (0 votes)

0 votes total Vote Now

Fabian Edwards (7-0) vs. Jonathan Bosuku (7-4); Bellator London, June 22.

Sam Creasey (11-2) vs. Samir Faiddine (10-5); Cage Warriors, June 29.

Viviane Araujo (7-1) vs. Alexis Davis (19-9); UFC 240, July 27.

Khalid Taha (13-2) vs. Bruno Silva (11-3-1); UFC 242, Sept. 7.


Justin Gaethje vs. is the most exciting fight in MMA history (on paper). The should absolutely try and make that happen. Plus, the winner can easily get a title shot.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


Poll

Would you like to see Gaethje vs. McGregor?

  • 0%
    No, there are other fights I’d prefer.

    (0 votes)

  • 0%
    Yes, obviously.

    (0 votes)

0 votes total Vote Now


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it! Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, and like us on Facebook!