Former UFC lightweight title challenger Justin Gaethje is expected to return to the Octagon in early 2023, roughly the same timeframe that combat sports superstar Conor McGregor is expected to make his long-awaited return.
While both fighters are yet to cross paths with one another, it appears as though fate is establishing a timeline for when these two strikers will finally square off. Adding fuel to the potential fire was ‘The Highlight’ who in a recent interview with MMA Fighting, addressed the possibility of facing McGregor in his return next year. Gaethje was mostly dismissive of fighting the former champ-champ and in no uncertain terms, accused McGregor of steroid use during his time recovering from a leg injury sustained in July 2021.
Another former two-division champion, Daniel Cormier, addressed the possibility of the two fighters throwing hands on his ‘3 Rounds with Daniel Cormier‘ show on YouTube and discussed the accusations levied by Gaethje.
“If you’re a fighter, people always talk about the money fight. It has been proven time and time again that Conor McGregor is the money fight. To the point that Charles Oliveira, who is about to fight Islam Makhachev has said publicly, ‘I would fight Conor for the belt right now.’ They understand the importance of the title versus the fight against a guy like Conor McGregor. But right now, the hot topic involving Conor McGregor is Justin Gaethje.
“Justin Gaethje, and we always say this, he’s your favorite fighter’s favorite fighter. That is not just hyperbole. That is just not us talking. When Justin Gaethje is in the Octagon, you know the fight is going to be fantastic. Well, Justin did an interview today where he was talking about Conor McGregor. What Conor McGregor is doing in his time away from the Octagon. What is Conor McGregor doing in order to look like this in the time away? Justin went so far as to imply that Conor McGregor are… Straight up, honestly, that Conor McGregor’s off doing some steroids. That is a pretty bold statement.
“For Gaethje to say that so confidently, it tells me that either him or his team is kind of looking into it.”
Daniel Cormier Believes Justin Gaethje is a Bad Match-Up For Conor McGregor
The last time we saw McGregor inside the Octagon was at UFC 264 in July 2021. The Irishman suffered a nasty leg break towards the end of the opening round in his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier. Battling back from an injury that severe is incredibly difficult. Just ask Anderson Silva or Chris Weidman who suffered their own brutal leg injuries mid-fight. Because of the injury ‘Notorious’ sustained in his last outing and Justin Gaethje’s penchant for leg kicks, could make ‘The Highlight’ a bad match-up for McGregor? Daniel Cormier thinks so.
“Justin Gaethje is insane at throwing leg kicks. Is this the fight for Conor McGregor right back being that Justin will beat the legs down? Especially knowing that Conor is a southpaw and Justin is a conventional fighter. Justin can throw those kicks from both sides and he can really beat up that injured leg. So is this the fight?
“I know that personally as a fan of the fight game, this is one that I would love to see, but is this the fight for McGregor being McGregor is coming off such a massive injury? The world would love it, but these accusations are very serious. So for Justin Gaethje to say them, there must be some background info into it. Or is Justin Gaethje just a lot smarter than us? Because reality is this: Conor McGregor responds. So when you say something negative about him whether you’re Henry Cejudo, Nate Diaz, Michael Bisping, and now Justin Gaethje, he will respond. And then you’re ultimately on the radar for what is the money fight.”