Justin Gaethje was left impressed by UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira and his pressure in particular.
Oliveira successfully defended his lightweight title for the first time after submitting Dustin Poirier in the third round of their UFC 269 headliner this past weekend.
The Brazilian put pressure on Poirier throughout in what was a fast-paced first round that even saw himself get clipped and dropped. However, Oliveira survived to eventually dominate Poirier on the ground in the second round before getting the tap with a rear naked choke in the third round.
The pressure in the first round — where Oliveira notably did plenty of effective body work along with putting Poirier on the backfoot — was key for Gaethje as to why he came out on top.
He even believes people don’t give Oliveira enough credit for the pressure he’s able to put on fighters — similar to former UFC lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I think he was better. I think he was better right now. More hungry, specifically,” Gaethje told ESPN. “That’s such a huge factor. The confidence, the belt around his waist, he’s representing Brazil — it just makes this man harder to beat and I think that was a big piece of it. I’m not sure, the pressure, nobody really gives Oliveira credit for the pressure he puts on people. Similar to how Khabib made me tired and makes people tired by making people fight off the backfoot.
“I think Dustin was fighting off the backfoot much more than he expected combined with the fact that he hurt him and had to try and finish him in the first round and he burned himself out a little bit. I think he probably got exhausted and then had no chance in those grappling situations is what I think in my mind what most likely happened. Combined with Oliveira being better.”
Justin Gaethje Plans On Making Oliveira Quit
It’s certainly odd yet refreshing to see Gaethje be full of praise for Oliveira after going most of the year talking about how the Brazilian lacks heart and quits when the going gets tough.
Oliveira has certainly shown that he is not a quitter, especially going by his last two fights. However, Gaethje was not talking about the first two rounds, but rather, deep in the championship rounds.
Regardless, he plans on proving himself right by making “Do Bronx” quit when they step inside the Octagon.
“He [Oliveira] proved me wrong up to this point but my job will be to prove myself right when I step in there with him and make him quit,” Gaethje added.
As for when Gaethje wants to fight him? The earliest date he prefers is May while the latest is July with the location being Oliveira’s home country of Brazil.
That would be one heck of an event if it ends up taking place.
You can watch the full interview below: