UFC newcomer Justin Gaethje on Conor McGregor: 'Once a quitter, always a quitter'

Former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion Justin Gaethje hasn't wasted any time attempting to make a splash in his new organization. 

After signing with UFC in May, Gaethje (17-0) made a bold statement by instantly challenging the promotion on social media to provide him with "the scariest lightweight possible" in his debut. 

Nicknamed "The Highlight" due to his recklessly aggressive style, Gaethje, 28, ultimately agreed to face Michael Johnson on July 7 in Las Vegas, in the main event of "The Ultimate Fighter" finale card.

Both Gaethje and Johnson did their best to drum up interest in the fight on Thursday during a news conference in Los Angeles, as they traded heavy trash talk both before and after the proceedings. 

But Gaethje's attempt at making a name for himself didn't stop there. During an appearance this week on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, he talked about how well he matches up with division champion Conor McGregor -- and wasn't afraid to throw in a few shots at the equally brash Irishman.

"Skill wise, there's nobody that's gonna outwork me," Gaethje said. "He'll out-talk me, that's for damn sure, but he ain't gonna outwork me. His skill set is special, he's got a great left hand. But we've seen him quit. He's got quit in his heart and once a quitter, always a quitter."

Gaethje, of course, was referencing McGregor's second-round submission loss to Nate Diaz during their first meeting at welterweight in 2016. Despite the fact that McGregor remains busy preparing for his Aug. 26 boxing pay-per-view bout against Floyd Mayweather, Gaethje wasn't shy at getting a head start in adding himself to the title picture. 

"I'm gonna get that opportunity. I'm gonna get the interim belt around my waist and then, when he comes back, he has to fight me," Gaethje said. "[I'll] make it a dogfight, make it a war, everything he doesn't want it to be.

"Absolutely [I'm calling for a title shot after my fight]. Like I said, if I get that belt around my waist, there's no question who he has to fight when he comes back. Well, he can fight whoever the hell he wants obviously, but if I have the interim title and I'm finishing people like I know I can, he has to fight me."

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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