Lightweight king Khabib and interim champion Gaethje meet at UFC 254 on Fight Island this weekend, and ahead of that contest White was asked at Wednesday’s pre-fight press conference whether he could guarantee the contest would live up to its highly-anticipated billing.
“Tell me the last fight he was in that sucked,” White said initially, pointing to Gaethje.
Turning to Khabib, who is undefeated in 28 professional MMA outings, White added: “What’s he lost, two rounds in his entire career? He’s undefeated, but how many rounds has he lost?”
“Just one, I’d say zero but they say one,” interjected Gaethje, referring to the belief that Conor McGregor is the only man to take a round from the Russian in the octagon.
White added: “Khabib is looking down the barrel of [being] not only the greatest ever to do it in this division, but, listen, if he beats Justin on Saturday he’s the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world and he’s on his way to GOAT status.
“He doesn’t say how long he’s going to stick around and how many more of these [fights] he’s going to do, but it’s pretty impressive what this guy’s done.
“You know what I think of Jon Jones, and we always talk about what Jon’s accomplished in his career. But look at how many fights this guy [Khabib] has in his career and he’s still undefeated. And this is a nasty, nasty weight division.”
Gaethje set up his shot at Khabib by stepping in to defeat Tony Ferguson in Las Vegas in April, in a clinical striking display which was widely praised as a career-best performance from the American.
‘The Highlight’ stands 22-2 in professional MMA, but is on a four-fight hot streak which includes three first-round finishes.
Khabib will be looking to claim his 29th victim in the octagon, in what will be the first fight since he submitted Dustin Poirier in September 2018, also in Abu Dhabi.