On the way to stardom, Conor McGregor was the one dishing out insults to get the attention of potential opponents. Now, he wears a rather large target on his back.
One of the best self-promoters in combat sports history, the 31-year-old Irishman regularly hears his name from fighters across several divisions. A few of them manage to get his attention.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was first on that list, and that’s why they’ll meet at UFC 246 on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas. But another one is Justin Gaethje, who’s rattled off three straight knockout wins and has never been shy about his opinion of the former two-division UFC champion.
Gaethje has vented loudly after UFC president Dana White said McGregor could get the next shot at the lightweight title if he gets past Cerrone, a fighter he demolished this past September. Add to that, the McGregor vs. Cerrone fight is contested at welterweight.
So far, all of Gaethje’s wins haven’t gotten him a fight with McGregor, and now, there’s a chance he’ll miss out on a title fight.
But according to McGregor, all is not lost. He told “The Mac Life” Gaethje has definitely gotten his attention, and it’s entirely possible they could clash in the near future if the chance to compete for the lightweight title is delayed.
“He’s on the list,” McGregor said. “Maybe I will face him next. He has it coming to him. I mean, I laugh at Justin. He’s a funny guy. He’s been taking it to heart. I know the feeling when you do that.
“Maybe I’ll get through Donald and I’ll have a quick turn around against Justin. Maybe that’s what will happen, but Justin is on the list no doubt.”
McGregor already has stated he wants to stay ready just in case he gets the call to step in as a replacement for the UFC 249 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
If that doesn’t happen, it looks like McGregor could instead face Gaethje. The Irish star said the days of him responding to every callout out are over. But this one snuck in.
“The disrespect I’ve received from many in the business and sometimes it’s caused me to react,” McGregor said. “I’ve reacted to disrespect and no more. I am focused on myself, an inner belief in myself, and I am back to who I am, and I look forward to going in and showcasing it again. I am pumped. I am ready to go.”