Justin Gaethje Prefers To Fight Islam Makhachev Next, Claims Dustin Poirier Turned Down TUF Offer

Justin Gaethje hopes to fight for the UFC lightweight title instead of a top contender matchup against Dustin Poirier.

Justin Gaethje
Justin Gaethje (Left), Islam Makhachev (Middle), and Dustin Poirier (Right)(Images via Instagram @Justin_Gaethje @Islam_Makhachev @aaronbronsteter )

Justin Gaethje wants to fight Islam Makhachev next for the UFC lightweight championship. 

In May 2022, Gaethje lost his opportunity to secure the vacant 155-pound title when Charles Oliveira choked him out in the first round. On March 18, he bounced back with a majority decision against Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286. Since his win against Fiziev, ‘The Highlight’ has been connected to talks of an upcoming rematch against Dustin Poirier, with the Louisiana native winning in April 2018.

During a video on Daniel Cormier’s YouTube channel, the former two-division UFC champion asked Gaethje about potentially fighting Poirier next. He responded by saying: 

“I’d rather have a championship fight.”

Makhachev last fought on February 11, defeating UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski by unanimous decision. The 155-pound king is now waiting for his next title challenger to be revealed. 

On June 10, Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush will meet in the UFC 289 co-main event. The winner of Oliveira vs. Dariush will likely take on Makhachev later this year. As a result, Gaethje and Poirier need one more win before earning a title shot. 

Justin Gaethje reveals Dustin Poirier turned down the opportunity to coach against him on The Ultimate Fighter

The Ultimate Fighter Season 31 was recorded earlier this year, with the first episode to be aired on May 30. The new season will feature Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler coaching teams comprised of bantamweight and lightweight fighters. Before McGregor and Chandler were confirmed as the coaches, several other matchups were rumored to be offered.

During the same YouTube video, Justin Gaethje revealed that Dustin Poirier turned down the opportunity to coach against him on TUF:

“Before I signed the [Rafael] Fiziev fight, they asked if I wanted to do The Ultimate Fighter with Poirier and he said no. I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t do it if I was him, when you got that much money. You’re gonna pay me $80,000 to go f*cking six weeks away from my family? No thanks.”

Poirier is in a similar situation as Gaethje. In December 2021, he suffered a third-round submission loss against Charles Oliveira for the UFC lightweight championship. A year later, ‘The Diamond’ returned at UFC 281, defeating Michael Chandler in an action-packed war. It’ll be intriguing to see if the UFC decides to book the rematch between ‘The Highlight’ and the Louisiana native to determine who gets a title shot.

Published on April 29, 2023 at 1:07 am
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