The UFC will have a new lightweight champion in May, and it will not be Justin Gaethje. Following the UFC’s acceptance of former champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement, a title bout has been announced between Charles Olivera and Michael Chandler. Supposedly without informing the number 2. ranked Gaethje.
A Shock Wakeup
The former Interim Champion was reported to be in talks with a 155lb matchup with ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler. However, the UFC have canceled that fight, much to Gaethje’s bemusement. He made the following post on Twitter to clarify the situation:
“I woke up yesterday to train for a matchup with Chandler on May 15th expecting a bout agreement any moment. Today that is not the case, I don’t know what I do yet but I like this feeling. It was a good day at sparring practice.”
I woke up yesterday to train for a matchup with Chandler on May 15th expecting a bout agreement any moment. Today that is not the case, I don’t know what I do yet but I like this feeling. It was a good day at sparring practice.
— Justin Gaethje 🇺🇸 (@Justin_Gaethje) March 20, 2021
Stuck In Limbo
This leaves Gaethje with a somewhat limited set of options for his next fight. The top six of the lightweight division all have fights booked except him. Rafael Dos Anjos is currently ranked at 7 and is coming off a dominant win over Paul Felder, and is thus the most likely next step for Gaethje.
However, Dos Anjos has recently been going back and forth with 11th ranked Islam Makhachev, although there is no fight booked yet. Dan Hooker could be another option for Gaethje, ranked at 8. and coming off a loss to Michael Chandler. Lastly, there is Paul Felder at 10th, though this may be too much of a step down in ranking for Gaethje.
Who would you like to see ‘The Highlight’ face next? Let us know in the comments.