Dana White Gets More Specific on Why Gaethje Won’t Get Title Shot

Conor McGregor Justin Gaethje

Dana White has doubled down on Conor McGregor being next in line over Justin Gaethje if he defeats Donald Cerrone at UFC 246, and now he is being a bit more specific about what is preventing Gaethje from receiving the shot instead.

Conor McGregor will be headlining UFC 246 against Donald Cerrone, and Dana White raised a few eyebrows when he said that, with a victory over Cerrone, Conor McGregor would face Khabib Nurmagomedov if Nurmagomedov gets past Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 in April. In spite of McGregor not having won a fight since 2016, lightweight division or otherwise, White would justify his position by reminding the public that McGregor has accomplished more than your average Justin and the bad beef with Khabib makes the rematch the fight to make.

If there were ever a time where Dana White would openly admit, “It would make the most money,” it would be here, but no such luck. Instead, we were treated to that rationale, which of course drew a reaction out of Justin Gaethje, who called White’s comments a “crock of shit.”  White would offer subtle responses to Gaethje, saying that Gaethje “knows what happened.” In a recent interview with ESPN, while still obtuse, White would pull back the curtains on what is it that may have “happened” that cost Justin Gaethje his opportunity at a title shot (Transcript via Bloody Elbow):

“C’mon guys,” White told ESPN. “Look what Conor has 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. 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.”

One particular fight Dana White may be referring to is the UFC 238 bout between Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone, which was originally intended to be Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, but Gathje had just come off of a recent victory over Edson Barboza and did not have enough time to fully prepare for a Tony Ferguson. It is unclear if this is the sole fight that Dana White is referring to. It also remains unclear why a fight between McGregor and Gathje was never on the table.

UFC 246 takes place January 18 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and will stream live on ESPN+.

What do you think of Dana White’s latest explanation for why Conor McGregor would receive a title shot ahead of Justin Gaethje?