Gaethje produced a near-perfect display to pick apart former interim champion Tony Ferguson through four rounds at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
And in the fifth and final round, Gaethje finally broke down “El Cucuy” as referee Herb Dean stepped in to end the contest at the 3:38 mark.
Gaethje was briefly presented with the interim title belt, but he quickly waved it away, explaining to UFC co-commentator Joe Rogan that he was waiting for “the real thing.”
Of course, he was referring to the undisputed UFC lightweight title currently held by Khabib, who he replaced on the card when the Russian star found himself stranded in his homeland.
It forced the UFC into a rethink, as they drafted Gaethje in to face Ferguson for an interim title. And even though he won the fight, Gaethje said his goal is to hold the undisputed belt, and wants to face Khabib next.
“Khabib is the best in the world,” he said.
“I’ve been working since I was four for challenges like this, and I’m happy to represent the United States of America against Dagestan, or Russia’s best.
“He’s 28-0, and there’s no other challenge I want right now. I want to fight him.”