In preparation for a title defense, Justin Gaethje claims to have the ability to take out champion Islam Makhachev. However, he understands that he must earn the match, so he is prepared to defeat Dustin Poirier to do so.
Gaethje, 34, who is currently ranked third among lightweights in the UFC, appeared with Babcock on the "TMZ Sports" TV program. He discussed a variety of topics, including who he wants to face next, how he would fare against the champion, how long he sees himself competing, and Conor McGregor's recent use of the term "handicap" to describe him on Twitter.
Regarding who Gaethje wishes to face after a convincing victory over rival Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286 in March:
"I think that's the obvious choice, Dustin. He's sitting at number 2 right now, I gave the new guys a chance and I proved that I am elite, and I need to fight elite fighters to fight for a belt. I think Dustin's the obvious choice. I think the loser of Dariush and Oliveira is also an option, but outside of those two, I do not see an option."
Gaethje also spoke about the fact that how a fight between him and Islam would look like in the future.
"I think [Islam is] a hard fight for anybody. Just create damage. I'd have to fight the perfect fight," Gaethje told us, adding he recognizes he wouldn't be on the Dagestani fighter's level when it comes to "submission grappling," but Justin believes with his power, he can shut anyone's lights out.
"I think I can knock him out. I think I can knock anybody out with the power that I possess."
He also added that the biggest difference between Khabib and Islam is that Islam has been finished once in his UFC career.
"I think they're very similar. I think the biggest difference is Islam has been finished. He's lost a fight. He's been finished. So that aura of invincibility is there, but it's not based on 100% facts like Khabib has, I think that's the biggest factor, the biggest difference."