Earmarked to fight former foe and prior undisputed lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira in a championship rematch in his return to the Octagon, current gold holder, Islam Makhachev has suggested a pairing with former interim titleholder, Justin Gaethje instead, eyeing a comeback at UFC 299 in March in Miami, Florida.
Makhachev, the current undisputed lightweight champion and current pound-for-pound number one ranked fighter, most recently headlined UFC 294 back in October in Abu Dhabi, UAE, landing a one-sided rematch win over Alexander Volkanovski, stopping the Australian with a brutal first round high-kick knockout.
Initially scheduled to feature in a main event bout against Sao Paulo favorite, Oliveira in a championship rematch, Makhachev saw the pairing shelved after the Brazilian suffered a nasty laceration above his right eyebrow ahead of the clash.
Islam Makhachev eyes Justin Gaethje fight at UFC 299
And receiving a recent call out from UFC Austin main event winner, Arman Tsarukyan in a championship rematch, Makhachev has ruled out a fight with the Armenian or Oliveira next, instead mentioning a return at UFC 299 in Miami, in a clash against Arizona native, Gaethje.“To be honest, I’ve already told I’m not that interested in rematches,” Islam Makhachev told Ushatayka. “Because if you want to win someone in a good way, you have to add new names.”
“There is (Justin) Gaethje, who I would say deserved a fight,” Islam Makhachev continued. “I think it would be more interesting to fight him. I think in March, maybe – most likely, yes, at the number event [UFC 299].”
Gaethje, a former interim lightweight champion and current symbolic BMF championship holder, headlined UFC 291 back in July most recently, landing a spectacular second round high-kick knockout win over fellow former interim gold holder, Dustin Poirier in the pair’s long-awaited rematch.
Who wins in a potential fight at UFC 299 in Miami: Islam Makhachev or Justin Gaethje?