Islam Makhachev axes rematch fight with Charles Oliveira, plans Justin Gaethje title clash at UFC 299 in Miami

Islam Makhachev confirms plans for June title fight with Justin Gaethje in UFC return

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.

READ MORE:  Jorge Masvidal rips Colby Covington for condemning UFC 296 loss on Donald Trump: 'You're blaming the greatest president'

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].” 

READ MORE:  Islam Makhachev plotting welterweight title charge in UFC return: 'I'm hoping he will fight at Madison Square Garden'

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?