Justin Gaethje doesn't usually take short-notice bouts, but he made an exception for UFC 249 after getting an opportunity to capture his first UFC belt.
"The Highlight" will meet Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title in the main event of the April 18 pay-per-view card at a yet-to-be-announced location. Gaethje was offered the fight after lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov fell off the card due to Russian travel restrictions.
"I haven't," Gaethje told TMZ Sports when asked if he'd ever signed up for a fight on such short notice. "But I've also never been offered a UFC title. That's the only thing I'm working for. That's all I've been working for since the beginning. So I'm ready to gamble."
The No. 4 lightweight said his coach was initially reluctant about him taking the fight. Gaethje agreed to sleep on it before ultimately making up his mind the next morning.
"I woke up, I said, 'If I lose, where are we at?' For me, it's in the same exact spot I'm in right now," Gaethje said. "I'm gonna go out there, I'm gonna get a paycheck, which is nice. But ultimately, I get a chance at glory."
"My name will be carried on far longer after I'm here because of my effort, because of my worth ethic, and because of the skills that I possess," he added.
The 31-year-old has won three straight fights, all by first-round knockout. He's coming off a win over Donald Cerrone last September.