- Justin Gaethje could beat Conor McGregor inside a round, the two-weight UFC champion Henry Cejudo said.
- A UFC analyst said there are a number of reasons why that would be unlikely, though.
- Gaethje himself said that he welcomes a fight against McGregor, and that should the Irishman defeat him, then he would be fully deserving of a lucrative rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Justin Gaethje would need only one round to destroy Conor McGregor.
That is according to the two-weight UFC champion Henry Cejudo, who, like Gaethje, is represented by Dominance MMA Management. Cejudo sees his stablemate as the superior fighter in a match-up against combat's money man — McGregor.
McGregor has been linked with a summer bout against Gaethje ever since he returned to the Octagon in highlight-reel fashion, beating Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246 in Las Vegas earlier this year.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the world's major sports organizations and events to a halt, and McGregor even filmed a statesman-like video in which he addressed Ireland and urged his country's decision-makers to enforce a stringent lockdown to beat the disease.
Before the video, he posted a clip of himself working out, throwing hooks at a sparmaster boxing station. Cejudo reacted to the clip, saying it shows McGregor is working on the wrong things.
"That's actually what the problem is," Cejudo tweeted recently. "You should be working [on] your takedown defense. Justin Gaethje would destroy you in round one!"
McGregor said late, last year, that he had intended to fight three times in 2020, starting with Cerrone in January, before a likely July bout — Gaethje is the likeliest out of two opponents, ahead of other candidate Nate Diaz, who McGregor has fought twice before.
It's been 10 years since McGregor was beaten inside a round
UFC commentator and analyst Chael Sonnen, a former middleweight contender, said on his own YouTube channel, that, though Gaethje is "a magnificent wrestler," he prefers to engage in dog-fights.
By that, he means Gaethje would likely swap strikes with McGregor, an area of combat the Irishman is a renowned specialist in.
"Gaethje is a magnificent wrestler … McGregor is very good at wrestling defense, not bulletproof, but very good. But the problem for Gaethje is Henry gave him less than a round, so it's got to be explosive and quick.
"It's probably going to be a dog-fight. Do you think Gaethje is a better striker than McGregor? Is Gaethje fast enough, powerful enough, accurate enough?"
Sonnen pointed out that McGregor has competed against two athletes considered the best in their sport at the time, losing in the 10th round to Floyd Mayweather in boxing, and submitted in the fourth round against Nurmagomedov. He hinted that it might be unlikely that Gaethje could do the job better.
McGregor has been finished in the first round before, twice, in 2008 and in 2010, but only when he was a raw mixed martial arts novice. Since then, he has become more well-rounded under the tutelage of John Kavanagh in Dublin's Straight Blast Gym.
Sonnen also said the fight could be swayed in McGregor's favor as Gaethje, a lightweight, may have to fight at welterweight, McGregor's recent weight of choice. Additionally, McGregor could insist on the fight taking place in Ireland, where he would be backed by a rapturous crowd.
"There has to be something weird when Conor is involved."
If McGregor wins, he deserves the Nurmagomedov rematch
The match-up is one Gaethje is eager to make as it would decide a suitable challenger to the current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
After McGregor defeated Cerrone with head kicks, nose-smashing shoulder strikes, and ground-and-pound, one of the first things the UFC boss Dana White said at the post-event press conference, was that Nurmagomedov would be the bout to make next.
But with Nurmagomedov tied up with his April 18 fight against Ferguson, and McGregor wanting to compete regularly, a punch-up with Gaethje could elevate the 31-year-old's status even further should he beat the American.
Gaethje agreed. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, he said if he loses to McGregor, then McGregor deserves Nurmagomedov.
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