That’s what the UFC 274 headliner said during his recent appearance on the “FULL SEND PODCAST.” Gaethje is currently promoting and preparing for his May 7th clash with reigning 155-pound king Charles Oliveira.
The two are set to do battle at the Footprint Center in Pheonix, Arizona.
And if “The Highlight” realizes his dream and hoists undisputed gold in the middle of the Octagon, he said he’ll be ready to defend it against either No. 3 Islam Makhachev or No. 4 Beneil Dariush. The two were supposed to fight earlier this year, but a leg injury forced Dariush off the card. UFC president Dana White confirmed that he wants to reschedule the fight, but nothing has been officially announced
McGregor is another name Gaethje is open to fighting as the lightweight champion, as he wants the opportunity to retire the Irishman.
At the end of the day, after I win this fight there’s two people that are next in line,” Gaethje said via MMA Junkie. ” “There’s Beneil Dariush and (Islam) Makhachev and they need to fight each other. If Conor McGregor’s there, then I think he’s just as rightfully available as those two because they need to fight. So I say either everybody deserves it, or nobody deserves it right now. Someone needs to stand out and yeah, whoever. I want that opportunity to take him away from this sport forever.”
Gaethje Says What the ‘Best Part’ of Being Champion Would Be
The Highlight won’t have to pursue any fights if he becomes the 155-pound champion at UFC 274. He’ll have combatants clamoring for their shot at gold, which is the “best part,” Gaethje said.
“The best part: When you’re the champion, the target’s on your back,” Gaethje said. “I’m not going to be looking back. At the end of the day, I will be the champ and whoever’s next will be next. I just gotta keep preparing myself, keep eating correctly, keep isolating myself, take away all distractions, and then I’ll be done one of these days.”
Oliveira Must ‘Walk Through Hell’ to Beat Gaethje
Gaethje is 5-1 in his last six bouts, with his sole loss coming at the hands of then-lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2020. The Highlight last fought in November when he beat Michael Chandler in an epic three-round match which has been crowned the fight of the year by many.
And when Gaethje steps into the cage with Oliveira, he told ESPN that he plans to make the Brazilian “walk through hell.”
“On May 7, at 9:30 Mountain Time, I’m gonna be perfect and I’ll be perfect for 25 minutes,” Gaethje said via Middle Easy. “If he can beat me, then kudos to him. But he’s gonna have to walk through hell like Khabib [Nurmagomedov] did. He’s not as powerful, he doesn’t have the structure, he doesn’t have the frame, and he doesn’t have explosive takedowns.
“He’s going to have find me making a mistake, overreaching, and try to get into a grappling situation. Outside that, he better be praying every day that he gets me to the ground. If not, it’s going to be the same night as [Michael] Chandler, except five rounds. If I went five rounds with Chandler, he would have died and that’s the truth. So, I’m glad we didn’t go five rounds.”