Justin Gaethje wasn’t going to step in on quick discover for anybody, however then “The Spotlight” modified his thoughts.
After UFC light-weight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was compelled out of his UFC 249 struggle vs. Tony Ferguson because of the journey ban restrictions in Russia, Gaethje supplied to step in. Curiously, he stated stance would have been completely different if it was a struggle in opposition to the undisputed champ.
“I don’t assume I might have taken the struggle in opposition to Khabib on quick discover,” Gaethje instructed BT Sport.
Although the struggle with Ferguson was pushed again just a few weeks after the UFC pulled the plug on the April 18 card, Gaethje (21-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) says coaching for a method matchup like Nurmagomedov on just a few week’s discover, would have been removed from superb.
“Matchup-wise, I believe I’ve a significantly better likelihood of touching Tony’s chin than Khabib’s, within the first two, three rounds,” Gaethje defined. “So as to get taken down a few times by Khabib, and work up, and nonetheless have the ability to struggle, I actually do want at the least 10 weeks. You understand I’ve been coaching my complete life however there’s sure lactic acid that builds up that you simply actually need to account for.
“It doesn’t matter what, this isn’t excellent circumstances, however a struggle is a struggle. When it was on 14-day’s discover, that was a lot completely different than now, or 20-day’s discover. Now I’ve had 5 weeks to coach, it’s not what I’ve requested for, or needed, however I do consider that earlier than this I used to be in higher form. … I didn’t let myself go. I used to be telling myself for the reason that starting of the 12 months, I used to be gonna struggle once more and it was gonna be a giant struggle.”
Gaethje will get his first crack at UFC gold when he faces Ferguson for the interim light-weight title. The winner is projected to unify the belts with champion Nurmagomedov someday within the fall.
UFC 249 takes place Could 9 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Area in Jacksonville, Fla. The principle card streams on pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.