Justin Gaethje got back on the winning track in a big way at UFC Fight Night 135, knocking out surging lightweight James Vick 1:27 into the opening round of their Aug. 25 headlining bout.
That halted a two-bout skid for one of the sport’s premier action fighters, who had been finished in back-to-back bouts by Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. Now that he’s established some momentum, the former World Series of Fighting Champion will be taking a keen interest in the happenings at UFC 229.
That event, of course, is headlined by a blockbuster lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor.
“We’re right back in the mix,” Gaethje recently told TMZ Sports. “Another one or two wins and I’m in it. Another finish like that. I’ll even fight the loser of Khabib and Conor.”
Another pivotal lightweight bout will take place on Oct. 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, as Tony Ferguson will return from knee surgery to face Anthony Pettis. “El Cucuy” has been on Gaethje’s radar for a while, and he’d be willing to step in on short notice should Pettis suffer an injury.
“If something happens with Anthony Pettis — he stubs a toe or rolls an ankle — I’m in versus him that’s for damn sure….He’s coming off a leg injury; I’ll go and chop it off the rest of the way,” Gaethje said.
Gaethje, who is 2-2 in the UFC and 19-2 as a professional overall, claims he wouldn’t have any issues on the scale should such an opportunity arise.
“My weight’s always good,” he said. “I don’t cut a lot of weight so that wouldn’t be a problem.”