UFC title challenger Justin Gaethje has launched a furious Twitter salvo at Conor McGregor, saying that the Irishman had his opportunity to fight him in January but opted for an easier fight against Donald Cerrone instead.
McGregor competed earlier this year for the first time since losing by fourth-round submission to UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in what he announced was the first of a ‘season’ in 2020 in which he intended to fight at least three times, but the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic having inserted a rather large spanner into those works McGregor now appears to have his heart set on a Winter 2020 return to the boxing ring against eight division champion Manny Pacquiao.
However, McGregor took to social media in recent days to post a screengrab of a text conversation with UFC boss Dana White dated in February which appears to show him campaigning for a matchup with Gaethje last May.
Gaethje, though, was instead placed into a fight with Tony Ferguson – with his win in their fight setting him up for next month’s title bout with lightweight champ Nurmagomedov, but that hasn’t stopped the American from hitting out at McGregor on social media, telling him that he has had his opportunity to fight.
@TheNotoriousMMA Not a good look lying on the boss. Anything to not look like a bitch. You had me in January I was calling on you left and right and not a peep. My manager asked if I wanted you after Tony but you know, fuck you. You never wanted it, you took the easy road kid. https://t.co/O1xAhMwdju
“Not a good look lying on the boss,” Gaethje wrote in response to a McGregor tweet. “Anything to not look like a b*tch. You had me in January I was calling on you left and right and not a peep. My manager asked if I wanted you after Tony but you know, f*** you. You never wanted it, you took the easy road kid.“
Dana White has suggested that – despite his ‘retirement’ – McGregor will be the next man up for the winner of Khabib/Gaethje in a fight which would be an incredibly lucrative one for all parties involved but Gaethje, and his manager Ali Abdelaziz, have repeatedly postured that they do not see McGregor as deserving of a world title bout.
Gaethje’s stance that McGregor “never wanted” to fight him is perhaps an unusual one given that McGregor holds dominant wins over the only two men to have beaten Gaethje in his career, Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez.
Dominance MMA head Abdelaziz remains a crucial factor in whatever the next chapter may be for Gaethje and Nurmagomedov. He represents both men and will be central to negotiations for any prospective bout between the winner of next month’s world title fight and McGregor, who remains the UFC’s biggest pay-per-view commodity despite his relative inactivity.
And while the Gaethje appears steadfast in his commitment to ignoring McGregor, should he claim the UFC lightweight title and become the first man to defeat Nurmagomedov in competition, the prospect of his own ‘Red Panty Night’ with the notorious Dubliner may represent a paycheck too significant to turn down, despite the signals coming from both he and Abdelaziz.