Justin Gaethje may have accepted a fight with Tony Ferguson on relatively short notice recently, but the heavy-handed knockout artist has candidly revealed that he wouldn’t have been willing to do so if his opponent had been current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov instead.
“I don’t think I would have taken the fight against Khabib on short notice,” Gaethje told BT Sport.
“Matchup-wise, I think I have a much better chance of touching Tony’s chin than Khabib’s, in the first two, three rounds,” Gaethje continued. “In order to get taken down once or twice by Khabib, and work up, and still be able to fight, I really do need at least 10 weeks. You know I’ve been training my whole life but there’s certain lactic acid that builds up that you really have to account for.
“No matter what, this is not perfect circumstances, but a fight is a fight. When it was on 14-day’s notice, that was much different than now, or 20-day’s notice. Now I’ve had five weeks to train, it’s not what I’ve asked for, or wanted, but I do believe that before this I was in better shape. … I didn’t let myself go. I was telling myself since the beginning of the year, I was gonna fight again and it was gonna be a big fight.”
Gaethje’s fight with Ferguson for the interim title headlines UFC 249 which takes place this coming Saturday night in Jacksonville, Florida.