The UFC lightweight division is up for grabs now after Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from MMA.
Nurmagomedov quit the sport after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi.
It was some way to go out. Nurmagomedov forced the American to submit in the second round following a triangle choke, which was only the third time a title fight has ended in that way.
So with Nurmagomedov retiring, there’s a vacant spot at the top of the lightweight division.
Gaethje, who entered Saturday’s fight as the interim champion, is eager to fight again. Conor McGregor tweeted after Nurmagomedov’s retirement to insist that he will carry on, while Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier are also in the mix.
Indeed, a fight between McGregor and Poirier has been lined up for January 23, 2021.
But Gaethje wants a shot at McGregor next and believes a contest can be made.
“With him retiring, I’m No.1,” Gaethje said after losing to Nurmagomedov, per The Mac Life.
“Poirier and McGregor are going to fight [Jan. 23]. 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 responds to Gaethje
McGregor hasn’t fought since he defeated Donald Cerrone in January and fans are eager to see him in action again soon.
But the Irishman doesn’t sound overly excited by the prospect of facing Gaethje.
He responded to Gaethje’s message by mocking his display against Nurmagomedov on Twitter before deleting his response. Thankfully, screenshots were taken just in time.
“Dustin KO’d you, as well as your wresting/grappling and overall fear of the central positions being truly embarrassing tonight, Justin,” McGregor said.
Brutal stuff from Notorious.
But he has potentially lit a fire under Gaethje. And there are not too many options out there for McGregor.
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