‘If McGregor wants to bounce out and get the belt, I’m right here’: Justin Gaethje calls out the Irishman after he DELETES a tweet taunting ’embarrassing’ defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254
The 31-year-old suffered defeat to Khabib at UFC 254 on Fight Island – with the victor, who extended his imperious record to 29-0, promptly revealing he would now be stepping away from the sport.
Despite tapping out in the second round, Gaethje is already eyeing up his next bout with the typically outspoken McGregor firmly in his sights.
Justin Gaethje called out Conor McGregor after suffering defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov
The American fighter tapped out with Khabib choking him out with a second round triangle
McGregor, who performed another U-turn earlier this year after retiring for a third time, is preparing for a comeback.
He is set to fight Dustin Poirier, with the bout reportedly pencilled in for January 23, although no official announcement has been made with talks ongoing.
The Irishman’s analysis of Gaethje’s performance in Abu Dhabi was unrelenting on social media, although his tweet has since been deleted.
An emotional Khabib soon retired after the headline bout with the lightweight title now vacant
It read: ‘Dustin KO’d you, as well as your wrestling/grappling and overall fear of the central positions being truly embarrassing tonight, Justin.’
The criticism has not affected Gaethje, who appears convinced that his spot at the top of the lightweight standings remains intact and is willing to take on McGregor.
‘With him retiring, I’m No 1,’ Gaethje said. ‘Poirier and McGregor are going to fight. They haven’t made it official, so if McGregor wants to bounce out and get the belt, then I’m right here.
‘If they want to give it to someone else, then so be it. But I’ll be ready. I’m ready to fight again. This is my job. This is my life. I love it so much.’
McGregor has been pictured back in training ahead of his comeback against Dustin Poirier
The outspoken Irishman last fought in January with a first round victory over Donald Cerrone
His setback against Khabib brought a swift end to his four-fight winning streak, which was kickstarted after a TKO loss to Poirier in April 2018.
McGregor has also previously suffered defeat to Khabib, who retires with an unblemished record.
The two lightweight titans clashed at UFC 229 in 2018 with ‘Notorious’ tapping out in the fourth round after Khabib’s rear-naked chokehold.
The blockbuster showdown was marred by a series of melees between the two fighters’ camps in and around the Octagon.