Justin Gaethje thinks Conor McGregor may be more willing to fight him after the Irishman got back on track at UFC 246.
"Ultimately, that dude makes his own decisions," Gaethje said during an appearance on the "Punchlines Podcast" earlier this week. "I think he has more confidence now. He needed a win. So yeah, I think maybe he'll fight me now."
McGregor finished Donald Cerrone 40 seconds into their pay-per-view headliner Saturday night in Las Vegas. It was his first fight since October 2018 and first win since November 2016.
Ahead of his return, UFC president Dana White said McGregor would likely fight the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Tony Ferguson for the lightweight title if he beat "Cowboy."
Gaethje, the No. 4-ranked lightweight, wasn't thrilled with that. Winner of three in a row - all by first-round knockout - he believes he's deserving of the next title shot.
But "The Highlight" won't do anything out of the ordinary to persuade the promotion to give him the next big fight, be it against the Nurmagomedov-Ferguson winner or McGregor.
"It takes a lot of intelligence to be able to (be a different person on and off camera), for one," Gaethje said. "To be able to keep that act up is gonna take a lot of time, a lot of energy, and a lot of concentration away from what I want to do. And ultimately, I just love the competition.
"It could hurt me in the long run, just not wanting to take that route. I could have been (at UFC 246), I could have been front row. I could have made a scene. ... And maybe I'll miss an opportunity because I wasn't there."