Former interim lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje has once more stressed that he deserves to fight for divisional spoils against the incumbent Islam Makhachev after UFC 294 over the course of weekend, claiming a fresh matchup with the Russian should come before a rematch with ex-titleholder, Charles Oliveira.
Gaethje, the current number two ranked lightweight contender and recently minted BMF championship holder, most recently turned in a spectacular second round win over fellow former interim champion, Dustin Poirier back in July, turning in a massive high-kick knockout win in the main event of UFC 291.
And in attendance at UFC 294 last Saturday in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Gaethje watched on as undisputed lightweight champion, Makhachev retained his crown with a blistering first round win over two-time opponent and undisputed featherweight kingpin, Alexander Volkanovski, stopping the Australian with a his own first round high-kick knockout win.
In the immediate aftermath of Makhachev’s win, Arizona native, Gaethje claimed that he should be next to fight the former next over Oliveira, whilst acknowledging that he faces a severe challenge to defeat him.
Justin Gaethje stakes claim for fight with Islam Makhachev
And echoing those claims, Gaethje maintains that he should fight Makhachev next, claiming fans are clamoring for the bout
“I think it should absolutely [be me],” Justin Gaethje told ESPN MMA after UFC 294. “I mean, I’m number two, I knocked out (Dustin) Poirier. I mean, Charles Oliveira is ahead of me, but he obviously already lost to (Islam) Makhachev. I have not fought Makhachev, it’s a fresh matchup, a new matchup, and I think that’s what the fans are looking for.”
“I think he [Makhachev] would have dominated Oliveira just the same,” Justin Gaethje explained. “Oliveira beat me – MMA math doesn’t work. I’ve said he’s not Khabib (Nurmagomedov), but I think he might be, so I just wanna go out there and figure it out.” (H/T MMA News)
Do you think Islam Makhachev should fight Justin Gaethje after UFC 294?