UFC News: Justin Gaethje's manager says Conor McGregor is avoiding him on purpose
Conor McGregor is set to return to the Octagon to take on Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. Many felt that McGregor took the "easier" option rather than facing a clear-cut top contender such as Justin Gaethje.
Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje is currently on a 3-fight win streak, having finished James Vick, Edson Barboza, and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, via first-round knockout. He stated after the Cerrone fight that he intends to sit out and wait for a title shot, being the first to admit that Tony Ferguson was ahead of the line for a title shot (which he'll get on April 18th).
At the time, many felt that McGregor should have fought Gaethje - the more exciting fight.
Listen, Conor does not want to have to do anything with Gaethje,” Abdelaziz told TMZ Sports. “We understand, Gaethje takes a lot of people into deep water. We understand Conor is a quitter. He quits when he’s in deep water. Why the hell does he need to fight. The UFC made the right choice not to [have him] fight Gaethje because he would have beat his a**. Simple.”
Given Gaethje's position in the Lightweight division and his 3-fight win streak, Abdelaziz believes that a title fight is the only one that makes any sense for The Highlight.
“Logically, he is [next],” Abdelaziz said of Gaethje. “He’s ranked number three. Number two Dustin Poirier fought for the title. That’s the only fight that makes sense for him, for his career, to fight the champion.”
Abdelaziz may not be fully wrong about Conor McGregor not wanting to fight Justin Gaethje. Given that he hasn't won an MMA fight in over three years (due to inactivity), his perspective on the situation would likely be to take the "easier" fight, which happens to be Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.
It isn't disrespecting Cerrone, but it appears as though he's being viewed as a tune-up fight for McGregor, who could either have Jorge Masvidal, Tony Ferguson, or Khabib Nurmagomedov next, depending on the circumstances and what happens between January to April 18th.
Gaethje is a tough match-up for McGregor stylistically, but if the Irishman gets his same focus and drive back for the Cerrone fight, then he could be a nightmare for Gaethje.