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Justin Gaethje tells Mike Tyson that he's got to put Tony Ferguson 'to sleep' at UFC 249

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Justin-Gaethje-getty-ftr (Getty Images)

Justin Gaethje already predicted that his fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18 will not reach the fourth round.

Despite facing a caliber fighter like Ferguson and taking the bout on short notice, Gaethje is going to approach this fight like all the others — by looking for the knockout.

"Same as always, I got to put that dude to sleep," Gaethje began telling Mike Tyson on Safe Distancing with Mike Tyson. "He's a cardio machine. I'd be a fool to say I got 25 minutes of cardio in me right now, but I've been scheduled for I don't even know how many five-round fights, I've never gone the distance and I never plan on going the distance. I'd rather get knocked out in the second than lose a decision in the fifth.

"I got that Mike Tyson power," he warned later, "so I just gotta touch him one time."

The 31-year-old Gaethje (21-2) has had success with that mentality, as 18 of his 21 victories have come by the way of knockout.

"I think eight guys have never fought again after they fought me," Gaethje told Tyson.

"I can see why," Tyson responded.

Gaethje is replacing UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is stuck quarantining in Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic and had to pull out of the bout against Ferguson. This marks the fifth time that Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson has failed to make it into the Octagon. Ideally, Gaethje would have liked more time to prepare for Ferguson, but fighting for the UFC interim lightweight title was an opportunity that he just couldn't pass up.

"As fighters, we fight for world championships," Gaethje said. "That's what I got in this for, so I'm a gambler, I'm a gambling man, I'm ready to roll them dice."

Ferguson (25-3) enters the bout on a 12-fight winning streak and hasn't loss since May 2012. Gaethje has won three straight bouts entering the fight.

Both Ferguson and Gaethje count a victory over Donald Cerrone in their last time out in June and September, respectively.

If he has his hand raised in victory on April 18, Gaethje would like nothing more than a shot at the champ.

"I want Khabib," he said. "I want the best in the world. I want to be a legend like you, Mike."

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