Daniel Cormier now believes Justin Gaethje will get the next title shot.
Gaethje returned to the win column after an emphatic unanimous decision victory over Michael Chandler in what was a back-and-forth war to open the UFC 268 main card this past weekend.
It all but cemented his place as the next in line for the lightweight belt with current champion Charles Oliveira set to defend his crown against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 on December 11.
However, many believed Islam Makhachev had a good chance of securing the next title shot following his impressive first-round submission win over Dan Hooker at UFC 267 last month.
Cormier, who trains with Makhachev, was certainly a vocal supporter on commentary which got him and Gaethje to have a little beef leading up to UFC 268.
However, after UFC 268, even Cormier had to change his mind as he now believes “The Highlight” is set to face the winner of the UFC 269 headliner.
“That whole thing with Justin Gaethje last weekend, I said what I felt and he took offense. But all week, not one second was Justin Gaethje mad at me, upset or approached me in an angry way.
“He spoke about it in that moment, and you know what? Last night he went out there and did what he had to do in order to ensure that he keeps his championship fight, because he fought Michael Chandler and beat Michael Chandler – a very trained, well-prepared Michael Chandler. So hat’s off to Justin Gaethje, and honestly, I believe that he will be the guy that fights for the belt next.”
Cormier: Makhachev Will Need One More Fight
If that’s the case, Makhachev — who is on a nine-fight winning streak — will have to fight at least one more time before getting his long-awaited title shot.
And that’s okay for Cormier because what’s one more win in the quest to becoming an undisputed lightweight champion?
“Islam will have to fight again, and that’s OK because I believe that Islam is going to be able to handle just about any challenges in front of him,” Cormier added. “You have to, right? If you’re going to be the champ, you have to.”
You can watch his full reaction below: