Justin Gaethje believes a win over Dustin Poirier could very well land him another opportunity at UFC gold.

The two leather-slinging lightweights will run back their 2018 classic this summer as the promotion makes its long-awaited return to Salt Lake City for UFC 291. ‘The Highlight’ and ‘The Diamond’ will headline the July 29 event with the bragging rights belt, otherwise known as the BMF championship, on the line. More importantly, both men could very well be fighting for another crack at a legitimate UFC championship. At least, that’s what Justin Gaethje suggested during his recent appearance on ESPN’s DC & RC.

“These rankings are for a reason,” Gaethje said. “They might not be as legit as we think they are, but he’s No. 2, I’m No. 3. No. 1 is fighting No. 4, and the champion needs someone to fight. I think if Dariush wins, he’s going to fight (Makhachev) in October, and the winner of that fight will fight the winner of this fight. If Oliveira (wins), I think one of us is going to be right back into camp” (h/t MMA Junkie).

READ MORE:  Bryce Mitchell dubs himself the 'Cash cow' of the featherweight division: 'They're sitting on gold'

Beneil Dariush and Charles Oliveira are scheduled to co-main event the promotion’s return to Canada on June 10. As Justin Gaethje suggested, Dariush is expected to finally get his first shot at the 155-pound crown with a win over the former lightweight titleholder. However, if ‘Do Bronx’ gets back into the win column, it’s unlikely that he will jump right back into a title fight with reigning champion Islam Makhachev given the decisive end to their UFC 280 headliner in October.

READ MORE:  Dana White praises Israel Adesanya after UFC 293 loss: 'He was willing to fight anybody, anywhere, anytime'

Justin Gaethje Understands that Time is Running Out to Achieve His Dream

That could pave the way for either Justin Gaethje or Dustin Poirier to fill the gap and earn what would likely be their last chance at becoming a UFC champion. Even if Dariush gets the best of Oliveira, the winner of Gaethje vs. Poirier 2 will still find themselves in line for a title fight, but it likely would not occur until 2024 with a rematch between Makhachev and featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski looming large.

Justin Gaethje recognizes the importance of getting past Gaethje in order to one day achieve his dream of being a world champion. ‘The Highlight’ also realizes that the clock is ticking on his career and before long, he will have to make the decision that every fighter eventually comes to face.

READ MORE:  Cris Cyborg reveals peace talks with UFC boss Dana White amid feud: 'I forgave him, I don't hold grudges'

“I don’t want to put myself in a position where I’ve got to think if I lose, but I wouldn’t imagine because the fire is not gone,” Gaethje continued. “When I talk in those hyperboles, I’m talking about the future. I’m talking about the reality of the situation. I’m 35 fights into a career. I’m 34 years old. There’s plenty examples of going too long, and I have people around me that love me that are going to prevent that. I trust them, and when they want to have that conversation, I’ll listen to them. For right now, we’re full steam ahead.”

Craig Pekios is a freelance writer born and raised in Bettendorf, IA. Joining LowKick MMA in May 2022, Craig has more than 2,500 articles published that focus on the world of mixed martial arts and boxing, including news, event previews, results, analysis, and op-eds. Aside from working with LowKick MMA, Craig has contributed to news outlets Overtime Heroics, Sportskeeda, and MiddleEasy.