In a fiery exchange of words, Justin Gaethje has thrown down the gauntlet to Conor McGregor, challenging the former two-division champion to finally step into the octagon with him. McGregor's recent tweet, boasting of a swift knockout victory over Gaethje, was met with a steely response from the "BMF" titleholder.
Fresh off a triumphant victory over Dustin Poirier at UFC 291, Gaethje seemed unfazed by McGregor's callout initially, alluding to past rejections and alleged steroid use. Yet, a change in tone was palpable as Gaethje shed light on their history, revealing that the Irish star had turned down six opportunities to face him during his ascent up the lightweight ranks.
While McGregor remains enigmatic on the sidelines, amid his role coaching The Ultimate Fighter 31 opposite Michael Chandler, doubts loom over his return. The passing of a drug testing deadline for a potential UFC 296 appearance without an exemption from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency raises questions about McGregor's commitment to facing Gaethje.
Former UFC two-division champion Henry Cejudo weighed in, advising Gaethje to consider the substantial rewards of a clash with McGregor over the victor of the upcoming Makhachev-Oliveira title rematch at UFC 294. Cejudo's bold assertion that the allure of a McGregor payday far outweighs future gold resonates as Gaethje contemplates his next move.
“Justin, if I had to choose something, whether I wanted UFC [gold] around my waist, or about $10 million, guess what, I’m going for the $10 million,” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel.
As the MMA world awaits McGregor's response, Gaethje's challenge reverberates—a decisive contract awaits McGregor's signature.
Will this potential showdown mark Gaethje's seventh time's charm and settle the score, or will McGregor's silence speak volumes? The stage is set for a blockbuster showdown that could redefine legacies and reshape the landscape of the sport.