Justin Gaethje feels he would’ve turned down a short-notice bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov if offered.
Gaethje is set to take on Tony Ferguson this Saturday night (May 9). The bout will be contested for the interim UFC lightweight title. It’ll serve as the UFC 249 headliner.
Gaethje Thinks He Would’ve Turned Down Short Notice Fight Against Ferguson
The UFC 249 main event was supposed to see Nurmagomedov put his lightweight gold on the line against Ferguson. Travel issues for “The Eagle” due to the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that. If Ferguson was the one who couldn’t make it and Gaethje was offered a short-notice bout against Nurmagomedov, “The Highlight” thinks he would’ve turned the fight down as he told Dan Hardy for BT Sport (h/t MMAJunkie.com).
“I don’t think I would have taken the fight against Khabib on short notice,” Gaethje told BT Sport.
“Matchup-wise, I think I have a much better chance of touching Tony’s chin than Khabib’s, in the first two, three rounds,” Gaethje explained. “In order to get taken down once or twice by Khabib, and work up, and still be able to fight, I really do need at least 10 weeks. You know I’ve been training my whole life but there’s certain lactic acid that builds up that you really have to account for.
“No matter what, this is not perfect circumstances, but a fight is a fight. When it was on 14-day’s notice, that was much different than now, or 20-day’s notice. Now I’ve had five weeks to train, it’s not what I’ve asked for, or wanted, but I do believe that before this I was in better shape. … I didn’t let myself go. I was telling myself since the beginning of the year, I was gonna fight again and it was gonna be a big fight.”
This will be Gaethje’s first crack at UFC gold, interim or not. Going into the title bout, Gaethje has won three in a row. In that span, he’s defeated Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza, and James Vick. All three of those victories ended in a knockout or TKO in the first round.
UFC 249 will be held inside the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. No fans will be in attendance. Keep it locked on MMA News for weigh-in results and predictions. Of course, we’ll be bringing you live results on fight night as well as highlights.