Justin Gaethje: Khabib Nurmagomedov is a bigger superstar than Conor McGregor

LOS ANGELES – Former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion Justin Gaethje is interested in bouts with both current UFC lightweight titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov and former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor.

But if he had to pick one or the other, Gaethje is going for Nurmagomedov, and not just because he’s the one who currently holds the gold. While it’s been generally accepted that McGregor has been MMA’s biggest star since Ronda Rousey retired, Gaethje isn’t buying that notion anymore.

“I want to be the best in the world,” Gaethje told MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “Khabib is the biggest superstar in the world, (bigger) than Conor is, and that’s a fact. He’s got one of the biggest countries, the biggest country in the world behind him. What are we doing here?”

To a degree, Gaethje has to say that, since both he and the champ are represented by Dominance MMA, which held a media day Tuesday. But Nurmagomedov is in fact a huge star in his home country of Russia and throughout the entire Islamic world, and becomes a bigger and bigger star in North America with each successive fight.

McGregor remains a top-line draw, though, and Gaethje, winner of three straight fights after knocking out Donald Cerrone in Vancouver in September, knows a fight with “The Notorious” would remain a big deal.

“Yeah, I’m interested in that, absolutely,” Gaethje said. “If he’s going to fight, then he’s No. 3, I’m No. 4. I need to solidify my shot at the title. There’s probably four different scenarios in which that happens. And that’s one big one. So yeah, absolutely interested.”

The fact McGregor has recently been calling out Frankie Edgar, however, doesn’t have Gaethje thinking the fight will be made any time soon though.

“If he’s going to fight, he’s calling out Frankie Edgar. You know, nothing but respect for that man, but he’s 30 pounds lighter, so deep down, I know it, you know it, but he knows it. He surely knows that he’s a (expletive) coward.

“I want to fight the best in world, I want to prove I’m the best in the world. That’s Khabib. He’s publicly stated many times that he’s not going to fight many more times, so I have to make that happen one way or another.

To hear more from Gaethje, check out the video above.

 

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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