Justin Gaethje is next for the lightweight title or at least that’s what it looks like.
Gaethje vs. Oliveira
‘The Highlight’ would put on an absolute show at UFC 268. He would decision Michael Chandler in a ‘fight of the year’ contender. With the newfound hype, UFC President Dana White confirmed that Gaethje was next for the title shot at 155.
One month later, Charles Oliveira would submit Dustin Poirier, to retain his lightweight throne. Gaethje and Oliveira would meet face-to-face, showing respect to each other after such a spectacular performance from the Brazilian.
There has been one complication since then. Conor McGregor.
The former UFC double champion has somehow reinserted himself into the title picture at 155. McGregor hasn’t won at lightweight since 2016, where he crushed Eddie Alvarez to win the title. Since then, it’s been 3 straight losses at that weight class, losing to rivals Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier (twice).
However, McGregor still believe he’s in the running for another title opportunity. He would call out Oliveira recently, insinuating he was next for him. Oliveira would accept, saying he could fight him on a weeks notice.
This would create a discussion among many, theorizing McGregor could jump the line, given his star power.
This conversation wouldn’t exactly sit well with Gaethje, who is expecting a shot at the champ himself. While he has been said to be next, the UFC has thrown curveballs before in terms of title shots.
“I’ll burn it all down. What do you mean?” Gaethje told TMZ, on if McGregor got the next title fight. “F*cking burn it down, that’s what I’d do. (McGregor) is so irrelevant. He has not won a fight since 2016 in the lightweight division. I’m ranked No. 1. I saw they updated the rankings. I’m No. 1 now. That feels pretty good. My whole life I’ve been working towards this. That is what’s next. If not, I’ll f*cking burn it down. I’ll show up and start throwing dollies everywhere. I don’t know what the answer is.”
Gaethje Won’t Allow McGregor To Fight For Title
Gaethje wouldn’t think it’d be fair to give McGregor an immediate title shot after 3 stoppage losses in a row at lightweight. Given the landscape of the division, brewing with contenders, Gaethje would take this as a total disrespect, if it were to happen.
“I would absolutely not allow him to fight for the title,” Gaethje added. “He did not win and go through the process. He’s not gonna sh*t on everything that we – there’s too many. Beneil Dariush, Islam Makhachev, those are the guys that we fight. Not Conor McGregor.
“That’s not how this works. He’s becoming more and more irrelevant as time goes on. Pretty soon you won’t even be asking me these questions. It’s gonna be a beautiful f*cking day.”
White, the promoter, remains confident that we’ll see Gaethje vs. Oliveira, but only time will tell if that happens. For the UFC’s sake, if they don’t want Gaethje to start a ‘riot’, it’d probably be in their best interest in booking him against the champ.