Gaethje told MMA Hook during the post-fight press conference of the pay-per-view event that, “It seems he has declined me six times. Normally, you need a loss to get a chance against him, so I’m unsure of what’s happening.”
Then the fresh “BMF” title holder coolly went for the kill.
One of the first to comment on Gaethje’s victory was the ex-champion of two divisions, who often gives his take on UFC events. This time, McGregor directly challenged Gaethje, stating, “I’ll knock you about.”
McGregor also dismissed the anticipated bout with Michael Chandler that was to mark the end of their coaching tenure on The Ultimate Fighter 31.
Chandler, the former Bellator champ, who has been eager to lure McGregor back to the octagon following their stint on the reality show, was not happy. From the start of his UFC journey, he had set his sights on the sport’s brightest star, “The Notorious.”
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For most competitors, a clash with McGregor means a career-altering payout and doesn’t require much persuasion for potential opponents to agree.
Perhaps Gaethje was being elusive, but after his significant win on Saturday, he appeared indifferent to the opportunity.
He stated, “I’m uncertain. Truly, I don’t care much. I’m not too bothered.”
Justin Gaethje brutally knocks out Dustin Poirier with head kick to secure ‘BMF’ title in UFC 291 main event
‘Justin, I’ll push you around’: Conor McGregor and others react to Justin Gaethje’s UFC 291 knockout of Dustin Poirier
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Gaethje had been keen on the matchup previously, frequently challenging McGregor and criticizing him during interviews as he aimed to climb the ranks. With McGregor currently in pursuit, Gaethje was playing a little hardball.
In response to why he was not eager for a McGregor face-off, Gaethje said, “Because I simply don’t care. I’m into MMA, I enjoy high-stakes matches, I appreciate excitement, so it sounds thrilling to me.
However, I won’t face a steroid user. I’ve never used steroids and don’t plan to – well, perhaps post-retirement. But I’ve never used them, and I refuse to compete with a cheater. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t even mention that if I want the match, but it’s the truth.”
Gaethje has consistently been open in his interviews. He hasn’t hesitated to critique McGregor’s public slip-ups. Recently, these critiques have been tied to rumors of McGregor’s possible PED usage, following his noticeable increase in mass after leaving the USADA’s drug testing pool.
McGregor has never tested positive for PEDS in his career. He and his team have pledged to follow USADA’s rules following his lengthy injury-induced hiatus due to a broken leg in a trilogy with Poirier. However, he has yet to rejoin the drug testing pool, leaving Chandler frustrated, as he anticipated a showdown at UFC 296, a chance now in jeopardy due to McGregor’s six-month window of inaction with USADA.
Despite this, the anti-doping agency could grant an exemption from this testing window, and UFC President Dana White hasn’t dismissed this option. This puts the ball back in Gaethje’s court, and it seems he’s chasing UFC gold before anything else. A rematch with Charles Oliveira could be on the horizon if the former Brazilian champion reclaims the belt from the current titleholder, Islam Makhachev, at UFC 294.
“I’d choose Charles, as he defeated me,” Gaethje said regarding his choice of opponents. “I’m competitive. This redemption opportunity was amazing. It motivated me to train harder, to be more prepared, but they’re the best in the world, and I want to compete with the best.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Justin Gaethje’s response to Conor McGregor
What was Justin Gaethje’s reaction to Conor McGregor’s challenge after his UFC 291 win?
Gaethje appeared indifferent to McGregor’s challenge, stating he simply didn’t care. He also brought up allegations of McGregor’s possible steroid use, implying that he wouldn’t fight someone on steroids.
What was McGregor’s reaction to Gaethje’s win at UFC 291?
McGregor issued a direct challenge to Gaethje following his win, declaring, “I’ll slap you around.” He also dismissed his anticipated bout with Michael Chandler.
Who does Justin Gaethje want to fight next?
Gaethje expressed a preference for a rematch with Charles Oliveira, a former opponent who previously defeated him. Gaethje’s competitive nature desires a chance at redemption against the best in the world.
Has McGregor been involved in steroid allegations?
Yes, whispers of potential performance-enhancing drug use have followed McGregor after he noticeably bulked up after exiting the USADA’s drug-testing pool. However, it should be noted that McGregor has never tested positive for PEDs during his career.
What could potentially happen with McGregor’s delayed enrollment in the USADA’s drug testing pool?
The anti-doping agency could grant an exemption from the testing window, a possibility UFC President Dana White hasn’t ruled out. This could potentially allow McGregor’s anticipated match with Michael Chandler at UFC 296 to go ahead.