This weekend, in the main event of UFC Philadelphia, former WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje will go to war with fellow fan favorite Edson Barboza.
If Gaethje is able to win this fight, he’ll take a big step up the lightweight rankings and open the door to a host of compelling matchups.
One prospective matchup that seems like an option for Gaethje is a fight with former champion Anthony Pettis, who called him out after knocking out Stephen Thompson last weekend.
That being said, Justin Gaethje doesn’t seem to interested in this idea. Instead, he’s hoping a win over Barboza will set up a rematch with Dustin Poirier.
“As much as I respect Pettis, I won’t be looking for that fight after I win here,” he told MMA Junkie this week. “I want that fight back (with Poirier). I have to have that fight back.”
Justin Gaethje also added that he has no interest in fighting Al Iaquinta, who’s set to battle Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the main event of UFC Ottawa this May.
“Al’s a (expletive), so I’m done with him,” he said. “He’s a (expletive), man. I’ve tried to fight him so many times. He’s signed up and backed out, and I’ll put no more effort into him until he’s the only shot to my title.”
While Gaethje feels he’s been ducked by Iaquinta, he can’t blame him for that. In fact, he commends him for his intelligence.
“I think he’s smart,” he said. “It’s not a fight you necessarily want. You have to go through hell to beat me. I got Poirier’s quad ripped. I’ve tore plenty of people’s MCLs, ACLs with my kicks. Those are not things you want to go through, especially when you get a win.”
Who do you want to see Justin Gaethje fight next if he beats Edson Barboza in Philly?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/28/2019.