The Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight division is arguably the deepest one in the promotion. Justin Gaethje is looking to continue to climb the rankings, and he has identified Conor McGregor as his latest target.
The American has called out the former lightweight champion before and believes McGregor needs to fight or he should lose his ranking.
“S---, man, the peak of my career. I'm ranked No. 5 right now,” Gaethje said to ESPN. “There are four guys and the champion in front of me. I'm looking for one of those guys, and I'm looking for a big fight this summer. I don't want to fight guys ranked behind me. I've got two knockouts in a row. James Vice ranked behind me. I feel I deserve someone in front of me.
“Looking at the landscape, Conor McGregor [who last fought against Nurmagomedov in October] is No. 3 right now. If it's not him, there's not an open fight right now. So, that's the fight I want. He's No. 3. If he's not going to fight, take him out of the rankings. I'd be cool with that, too, and we can move on from there.”
Given he doesn’t want to fight someone below him in the rankings, the 30-year-old is adamant about a McGregor fight but isn’t sure if the Irishman even wants to fight anymore.
“I don't know, but as far as I'm concerned, he's in the rankings so he should be available. I'm just sitting in my house in Colorado. I have no idea what the hell is going on with him. But he's No. 3. He's the only guy ranked ahead of me that doesn't have a fight. He needs a fight to get back to the title shot. That's me.
“I don't know what else to say about it. Unless he just does not want to fight me, if he wants to be that picky about it. I can't control that. I'll worry about things I can control. But I would definitely love to f--- him up. Every time I get a chance to f--- someone up who talks a lot of s---, it makes it more fun for me.”