Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler will have a very interesting spot this weekend.
The pair are set to collide in a highly-anticipated lightweight bout on the UFC 268 main card this Saturday night in New York’s Madison Square Garden. The winner of the fight may very well end up challenging for the lightweight title next.
Given the magnitude of the fight, it was only natural for it to be placed behind the two title fights taking place. That was until now.
The news was broken Wednesday by Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that the contest will now open the main card instead.
“Saturday’s #UFC268 main card will begin with a bang, per reporting from @arielhelwani on #TheMMAHour 💥”
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) November 3, 2021
Wittman To Be Busy At UFC 268
While most fans certainly would not complain about getting to see Gaethje vs. Chandler sooner, it was still a surprising move that puzzled many.
However, it makes sense when one considers the role Gaethje’s head coach Trevor Wittman is playing on Saturday night.
“Trevor Whittman, Gaethje’s coach, also trains Namajunas & Usman who feature in the Co-main & main events and this gives him more time to prep.”
A little bit of breaking news here in NYC.
Gaethje vs Chandler will now OPEN the main card at #UFC268 instead of being 3rd fight on.
Trevor Whittman, Gaethje’s coach, also trains Namajunas & Usman who feature in the Co-main & main events and this gives him more time to prep.
— Adam Catterall (@AdamCatterall) November 3, 2021
Wittman may have been the first head coach to corner three fights in a row — with two of them being five-round title fights — if the order wasn’t changed.
And given the pacing of pay-per-view events, he would have likely had next to no time to fully prepare as well as have a rest in between.
After all, he will also need to be at his best if all three pupils of his are to come out victorious this weekend.