The UFC was targeting this lightweight scrap to take place at the UFC 238 pay-per-view event at United Center in Chicago, Illinois last month. However, there was a problem despite it being a dream matchup for many fans. Also, both fighters seemed to be open to the fight taking place.
That problem was the fact that the UFC offered the former WSOF champion the fight on just four weeks notice. With such a short-notice offer, it was tough for Gaethje to prepare for the fight. As a result, he had to decline the fight and the UFC went to the always game Donald Cerrone, who accepted it.
As seen in the Cerrone vs. Ferguson fight, “El Cucuy” won the fight by TKO (doctor stoppage).
Justin Gaethje Addresses Turning Down This Fight
With UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov busy as he’ll fight Dustin Poirier in the headliner of UFC 242, Gaethje is open to a fight with Ferguson that could serve as a #1 contender fight. Gaethje told Aaron Bronsteter all of this in a recent interview (H/T to LowKickMMA).
“They called me to fight Tony [but] it was four weeks notice. I can’t do that. I can’t go in there compromised. It’s a huge opportunity to miss out on but I asked them if they could push it until Saturday [UFC 239] and they couldn’t do it. ‘Cowboy’ got the bid. I would love to fight Tony. I want to fight the Russian. I got to get through Tony, or through one of those guys.”