Nurmagomedov is set to defend his UFC lightweight title against Ferguson in the main event of UFC 249. The action will be held inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on April 18. While some argue that Gaethje is deserving of the winner, UFC president Dana White has said that isn’t the direction the UFC is planning to go in if Conor McGregor is successful in his return.
“Come on, guys. Look at what Conor’s done over the last however many years, and then he loses to Khabib, in a fight that was….when you talk about bad blood, it’s like next level of bad blood,” White told ESPN before turning his attention to Justin Gaethje. “And Gaethje was on his way up, too. We’ve offered Gaethje a lot of fights that Gaethje hasn’t taken, either. So Conor is in line next for this fight if he beats Cowboy.”
Cerrone Says UFC Politics May Be Against Gaethje
Cerrone, who welcomes McGregor back to the Octagon at UFC 246 on Jan. 18, told MMAJunkie.com that Gaethje is deserving of a title opportunity but could be the victim of politics.
“If you’re talking rankings and deserving, sure,” Cerrone told MMA Junkie on Gaethje. “If you’re talking popularity and the business side of it and making money, yeah. It’s two different games. The UFC gets to pick and choose and do what they want for what makes financially more sense for them. That’s just what this game has turned into.”
Gaethje is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Cerrone. “The Highlight” has said he’s willing to fill in if the UFC 249 headliner needs a replacement as long as the cost of his training camp is covered.