Former interim UFC lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje has claimed that should he defeat fellow contender, Michael Chandler at UC 268 next month, he will then challenge for undisputed lightweight gold in the form of a tilt against Charles Oliveira, or a rematch with Dustin Poirier.
Gaethje, who currently holds the #2 rank in the official lightweight pile, headlined UFC 254 in October of last year in his most recent Octagon walk — dropping an eventual second round triangle submission loss to then-champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov in a title unification loss.
The November 6. outing against most recent title chaser, Chandler at Madison Square Garden will mark Gaethje’s first outing in over 13 months, however, he believes he, and not the former Bellator lightweight best should have faced Oliveira for vacant gold in May at UFC 262.
Headlining the May event at the Toyota Center against Oliveira, Chandler ultimately dropped an early second round knockout loss to the Sao Paulo native, having started brightly in the opening round.
Chandler’s inclusion in a vacant title bout despite featuring just once in the Octagon drew notable displeasure from the likes of former interim gold holders, Poirier and Tony Ferguson, with the latter coining the phrase, “Dana White privilege” to describe Chandler’s quickfire title shot.
With Oliveira slated to attempt his first defense of the lightweight title at the promotion’s final flagship event of the year at UFC 269 in headlining bout against Poirier, Gaethje believes he’ll follow suit into a title shot with a win over Chandler next month.
“Absolutely, I go out there and get the W on November 6. and I will be fighting for the title next,” Justin Gaethje told The Schmo. “I’ll be fighting the winner of (Dustin) Poirier and (Charles) Oliveira, that’s definitely the plan.“
“#1 fought #5, #3 fought #4, and if you were #2, you got f*cked,” Justin Gaethje explained. “It just so happened that my name was next to that #2 spot, so it is what it is. The opportunity is ahead of me to get what I want, so I gotta capitalize.“
Prior to October’s submission defeat to the now-retired, Khabib, Gaethje has embarked on an eye-catching winning streak of four consecutive knockouts — stopping the quartet of James Vick, Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone, and the above mentioned, Ferguson — the last of which earned him the interim lightweight crown in a short notice UFC 249 main event back in May of last year.
Gaethje has previously voiced his interest in a future title re-run with Poirier, as well as claiming he would like to share the Octagon with Oliveira — calling the promotion’s most prolific submission artist, a “quitter“.