Gaethje ditches interim belt during face-off with Khabib

Justin Gaethje ditches interim belt during face-off with Khabib Nurmagomedov ahead of UFC 254 showdown as American declares he only wants real title

  • Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov squared off ahead of UFC 254 fight
  • American became the interim champion with victory over Tony Ferguson  
  • He had interim belt with him and Khabib had championship belt at photo op 
  • But Gaethje gave his back, pointing to Russian and saying that is belt he wants  

Justin Gaethje dismissively handed back his interim lightweight champion belt, pointing at the real deal Khabib Nurmagomedov was carrying and declaring it the one he wanted. 

The American was given his interim title for the impressive victory over Tony Ferguson in May, the win that earned him a title shot. 

And with fight night this Saturday at UFC 254 fast approaching, Gaethje told the champion in no uncertain terms that he was coming for the 155-pound strap. 

Justin Gaethje (right) pointed at Khabib Nurmagomedov’s belt, saying it is the one he wants

During a photo opportunity and face off with UFC president Dana White on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, Gaethje was handed his belt. 

Khabib also had his draped over his shoulder but the challenger soon gave his away. 

He pointed at Khabib and said: ‘That’s the one I want.’ 

Gaethje has been consistent in his approach to the lightweight title fight since beating Ferguson. 

Almost immediately after White wrapped the interim belt around his waist he threw it to the ground, saying he wanted the real one. 

The challenger clearly has one intention and that is not to simply be the latest victim on Khabib’s perfect 28-0 record. 

Khabib remains a strong 3/10 favourite with the bookies but many fans believe he has the perfect style to upset the champion on Saturday night. 

The fight is already trending to become one of the most watched in UFC history with all eyes on Gaethje looking to pull off a win nobody in MMA has managed before.      

Khabib is favourite for the fight but Gaethje is regarded as his greatest challenge to date

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