Is Justin Gaethje ready for a lightweight title shot? If not who should he fight next?
David McGrath, Host – MMATorch Today Podcast
I really wish the UFC didn’t book Iaquinta-Cerrone first and waited for this fight to play out. I think Gaethje should get the winner of the two which I assume is going to be Iaquinta in a true #1 contenders fight. If not, when Tony Ferguson is ready to return, he should get Gaethje first. One more win and Gaethje fights for the title.
Patrick Shaheen, Host – MMA Scope Podcast
Yes, Justin Gaethje is ready for Khabib Nurmagomedov and in my opinion is the champ’s worst stylistic matchup. Supposedly Justin Gaethje can wrestle, I’ve never seen it but I’ve heard long told legends of a collegiate wrestling career. That’s not what matters really, Gaethje has a way of lulling guys into standing and banging with him, mostly because he can, and seems to not mind eating a few punches. If he could target and hurt Khabib’s legs in the first three rounds he could maybe pull off an upset knockout late in the fight. Either way, it would be a great fight.
I know he’s not getting the next shot, and if there is one fight he could win to earn a shot that would have to be Tony Ferguson.
Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch Managing Editor
With Tony Ferguson necessarily on the shelf, I do feel that Justin Gaethje should be next in line for Khabib Nurmagomedov. Obviously, Conor McGregor is the wild card here. If he works things out with Dana White and Khabib is the fight he wants, that’s what he’s going to get. With Khabib eligible to return just a couple of days after UFC 239, the August pay-per-view is likely where he’s going to land. If that end’s up being the McGregor rematch, so be it, I can live with Gaethje against Tony Ferguson or the Cerrone-Iaquinta winner in the meantime.
Frank Hyden, Columnist – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Well, I wouldn’t put him over Tony Ferguson getting the lightweight title shot but yeah, he’s deserving because he’s a guy you want to watch fight. He’s as close to a guaranteed exciting fight as you’re going to get. So, I would make Ferguson vs. UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and I would put Gaethje in there against Conor McGregor. I’d do that because Gaethje would make a lot more money from that fight than his previous fights. The UFC needs to pay Gaethje a hell of a lot more than they do, here’s an easy way to do that.