Conor McGregor has called Justin Gaethje a ‘bird brain’ for threatening to leave the UFC if the Irishman receives a title shot in the near future.
McGregor is due to fight Michael Chandler later this year, while the pair’s fellow lightweight Gaethje is fresh off a win over Rafael Fiziev this month.
Gaethje, a former interim champion who has twice failed to win undisputed gold in the UFC, outpointed Fiziev at UFC 286 in London on 18 March, moving himself a step closer to a third title shot.
However, many in the sport feel that McGregor will receive a title fight if he beats Chandler, a scenario that could lead Gaethje to leave the UFC, per the American.
“Would I quit if Conor won and they gave him a title shot? Probably,” Gaethje told ESPN this week. “That’s how hurt I would be by the actions of the company I represent, but that’s out of my control. I just really hope that doesn’t happen. We can imagine a lot of things, but there’s a possibility that that’s the scenario, which I would be devastated [by] for sure.”
McGregor has since responded, writing in a now-deleted tweet on Thursday (30 March): “This braindead fool got a title shot off of one single win and it was vs chandler. Yet he will quit and retire if I get the same thing.
“Classic [gaethje] bird brain. #Jacka** Two Title attempts. No wins.”
Gaethje became interim UFC lightweight champion in 2020, but he failed to unify the titles with then-official champion Khabib Nurmagomedov later that year. Gaethje, 34, was submitted by Khabib but bounced with a points win over Chandler in 2021. His next fight was a title shot against Charles Oliveira last May, and again he lost via submission.
Meanwhile, McGregor has not fought since July 2021, when he suffered a broken leg in his second straight loss to Dustin Poirier.
The Irishman is a former dual-weight UFC champion, having held the featherweight and lightweight belts simultaneously in 2016. The 34-year-old has also fought at welterweight three times in the UFC, and the weight class for his bout with Chandler is as yet unknown – as are the date and location.
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