‘I probably shouldn’t even say that’ – Justin Gaethje responds to Conor McGregor’s UFC 291 call out

Newly-crowned 'BMF' champion Justin Gaethje issues his response to Conor McGregor, who had a few words for him after UFC 291.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 1 week ago

Immediately after his UFC 291 win over Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje received a callout from Conor McGregor. In a series of tweets, ‘The Notorious’ made his intentions known in usual fashion. Telling fans that Michael Chandler is yesterday’s news, the Irishman wants a fight with the BMF champ.

Gaethje and McGregor have been in each other’s crosshairs for years now, but nothing ever materialized. During his media scrum, ‘The Highlight’ got the chance to respond. 

Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) reacts to defeating Dustin Poirier (red gloves) during UFC 291 at Delta Center. Salt Lake City Delta Center Utah USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xJeffxSwingerx 20230729_szo_si8_0366
IMAGO | USA Today Network

Justin Gaethje claims McGregor turned him down multiple times

In his response to the first McGregor question during the scrum, Justin Gaethje revealed being rejected multiple times, six times to be exact. 

“I think he’s turned me down six times. And usually, you have to lose to fight him. So I don’t know what’s going on,” he told the media. 

Gaethje has been bringing up the idea of a McGregor fight as far back as 2019. Initially it seems, he was hoping to take on the former UFC ‘champ-champ’ in a massive show on his home soil in Ireland. But nowadays, Gaethje seems more content seeing McGregor “get broken,” by other fighters.

Gaethje explains why he’s turning down Conor McGregor

Justin Gaethje did have a response when further prodded about the Conor fight. 

“I fight MMA. I like to fight big fights, I like exciting things, so it sounds pretty exciting to me,” Gaethje admitted. “I’m not gonna fight someone on steroids. I’ve never taken steroids in my life, never will. Well, maybe when I retire, I might. 

“But I’ve never taken steroids and I don’t want to fight someone that is cheating. And I probably shouldn’t even say that if I want the (McGregor) fight, but it’s the truth.” 

McGregor has yet to ever fail a USADA drug test (or any other drug tests for that matter), however he’s made himself the source of lingering uncertainty with his seeming continued hesitancy to re-enter the UFC’s drug testing pool after withdrawing from competition in 2021 to rehab from a broken leg. Per reports, the 35-year-old Dublin native failed to re-enter the testing pool in June for the UFC’s final PPV event of 2023, which happens on December 16. 

According to USADA’s rules, a fighter returning from a lengthy absence should complete six consecutive months of clean tests before getting the green light to return to competition. 

McGregor hasn’t seen action since UFC 264 in 2021, when he broke his leg against Dustin Poirier. Since then, he had bulked up to 190 pounds and booked a coaching stint for the 31st season of the Ultimate Fighter against Michael Chandler. 

The two were expected to face each other sometime after the season ended, but those plans remain on limbo as of this posting. 

What’s in store for Justin Gaethje’s immediate future? 

As for the newly-crowned BMF champion, he is expecting to be the next in line for a shot at the undisputed 155-pound belt. Currently, reigning champion Islam Makhachev will take on Charles Oliveira in a rematch at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi in October. 

Justin Gaethje remains uncertain about his future as far as fighting goes, but he did say what he doesn’t want for his next fight. 

“In the cage after the fight, I (told Poirier), ‘Hey, man. Let’s both agree to never fight each other again. Unless you have to have it, then I’m here.’ But we’re 1-1, so we’ll see. 

“I would never deny him the opportunity just like he didn’t deny me the opportunity. But I don’t want it to be my next fight.”

Gaethje and Poirier first fought in 2018, with the latter winning via fourth-round TKO. 

After UFC 291, Justin Gaethje compiled a two-fight win streak and improved to a record of 25-4. He also won a $50K bonus for Performance of the Night, totaling to ten post-fight bonuses in the UFC.

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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