- Justin Gaethje sees himself possibly running it back with Dustin Poirier or facing the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush after a win over Rafael Fiziev
- “The Highlight” said he is used to bouncing back to title contention right away after a title fight loss
Justin Gaethje is laser-focused on securing a victory over Rafael Fiziev this weekend at UFC 286. But as early as now, “The Highlight” already has an idea about what could possibly play out for him as he aims to get back into the fold.
A statement win first
Speaking to BT Sport, Gaethje said the plan is to fight for the title and become a legitimate champion this time around. First and foremost, he wants to beat Fiziev and if it comes down to facing Dustin Poirier again, or the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush, so be it.
“I have a gold belt hanging at my house but it’s an interim title. I’m sitting at number three, very close, a big win over Fiziev puts me right back there you know, you got Dariush and Oliveira fighting, they got to figure that out and then the winner’s going to fight the champion and if I need to fight Poirier in between, that I will. If not, someone’s gonna fight that winner and that’ll be me,” Gaethje explained.
Justin Gaethje has ten UFC fights in his career and hasn't fought anyone ranked outside of the top-10 😳
Absolute savage 😤
(h/t mmapack/IG) pic.twitter.com/FFuWhrqDdM
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 11, 2023
Trusting the process
This is the second time Gaethje found himself in the same exact situation. The first time, he beat Michael Chandler off of a title unification bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov, which made him worthy of a crack at then-lightweight champion Charles Oliveira. Gaethje failed to cop the title in that fight which led him to a showdown with Fiziev.
It’s likely that he could go through the same process again, but “The Highlight” doesn’t mind it at all.
“[it’s] part of the process, part of the evolution. You know coming off a loss I find it natural to fight one of these guys just outside the top five. So, that’s what I’m doing,” Gaethje said.
Gaethje will be out to prove that he is not only an entertainer but also a championship-caliber fighter. On the other hand, Fiziev will try to improve his six-fight winning streak and finally break into the division’s top five.
UFC 286 will take place this weekend, March 18, at the O2 Arena in London, England.