ESPN has confirmed that Conor McGregor is in tentative negotiations to fight Justin Gaethje in the summer of 2020. Ariel Helwani has reported that the pair are in talks to fight this summer. If it happens then it will be McGregor’s second fight of 2020.
Gaethje is currently on the sidelines looking in. He’s desperate for either a shot at the title or McGregor. However, he has to be careful in case he gets past by. According to Dana White, Gaethje has already turned down a number of fights. After beating Paul Felder in Auckland, Dan Hooker was the latest to call out ‘The Highlight.’
But now it appears that McGregor is ready to beat Gaethje to irrevocably establish himself at the front of the queue for the next lightweight title shot. He also wants to stay active so that he’s sharp for either a rematch with Khabib Nurmagamedov or his championship contender Tony Ferguson.
Ariel Helwani says a summer time fight between McGregor vs. Gaethje is the current front runner. Things could change, talks very preliminary at this point.#HelwaniShow
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) February 24, 2020
McGregor did say that he is open to fighting Gaethje in the future. After beating Cowboy in January he didn’t directly call out anybody. A number of fighters including Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal were seriously considered. But now it’s understood that Gaethje has jumped to the top of the queue.
“He is on the list,” McGregor said in his pre-fight press conference. “He is on the list. Maybe I will face him next. Maybe I’ll face him next. He has it coming to him. … He’s a funny guy. He’s been taking it very to heart. I know the feeling when you do that. Maybe I’ll get through Donald and I’ll have a quick turnaround against Justin. Maybe that’s what will happen. But Justin is on the list, no doubt.”
Gaethje is desperate for the chance to fight McGregor. To be fair it does make sense. With Khabib Nurmagamedov and Tony Ferguson likely to do a lot of damage to each other, who knows when they’ll be fit to fight again? Meanwhile, Khabib won’t return before Ramadan finishes anyway. Gaethje has been doing his best to antagonize McGregor over the past couple of weeks. He told TMZ:
“ As you can see, the man is not going to fight me. What the f*ck do you gotta do? He’s running out of easy fights. I’m sitting here, smoking my CBD, waiting for a motherf*cker to punch me in the face. Let’s go, don’t be a p*ssy.”
While Gaethje doesn’t have the name outside of MMA that Nate Diaz or even Cerrone does, it would definitely be a fan-friendly bout. The Highlight’s nickname is perfect because he brings it to every fight. He’s currently riding a three-fight win streak, with KO wins over James Vick, Edson Barboza, and Cerrone all in the first round.
Arguably he still needs to beat a proper top contender to solidify his title shot ambitions. A rematch with Dustin Poirier wouldn’t be a bad idea but McGregor is the perfect fight. But that’s what we pay for, right? Let’s hope that this one happens. It’s the perfect fight for both men.