Exclusive – Justin Gaethje believes win over Islam Makhachev would ‘even the score’ with Khabib Nurmagomedov

Justin Gaethje
Mandatory Credit: Chris Unger - Zuffa LLC

Former interim UFC lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje believes a potential victory over Islam Makhachev in the future if the duo clash – would likely go a long way to evening a score between himself and Makhachev’s teammate and former foe, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Gaethje, the current #3 ranked lightweight contender, most recently headlined UFC 274 back in May against former undisputed champion, Charles Oliveira, suffering a first round rear-naked choke loss to the Brazilian in an unsuccessful title siege.

With Oliveira missing championship weight for the fight, Gaethje was the only eligible party to win gold at UFC 274, however, was rocked, admittedly on at least five separate occasions on the feet by the former, before he was dropped and then submitted in brutal fashion. 

READ MORE:  Cain Velasquez delivers heartfelt message at Lucha Libre AAA event following his release from jail

The defeat came as Gaethje’s second in his bid to become the undisputed lightweight champion during his Octagon tenure, having previously dropped a second round triangle loss to the aforenoted, Khabib at UFC 254. 

Yet to book his next walk since his submission loss to Oliveira, Gaethje, who has been linked with a fight against Rafael Fiziev in an end-of-year clash after both recently underwent surgical procedures to address nose fractures.

Justin Gaethje has been linked with a future fight against stablemate Islam Makhachev

The ONX Labs mainstay is sure to have eyes fixed on this month’s vacant title fight between Oliveira and Makhachev, and insists that a future fight, and victory over the latter would likely go beyond evening the score with Khabib.

READ MORE:  Michael Chiesa predicts the return of a former UFC champion: "Rockhold is coming back."

“Yes,” Justin Gaethje said during a recent interview with LowKick MMA reporter, Makoa Goble when asked if a win over Makhachev would even the score with Khabib. “That would be, yeah – that would be better than evening the score, probably.”

Having shared the Octagon with Oliveira, Gaethje has shared his thoughts on how the Brazilian will fare against Makhachev at UFC 280.

“I think the main part of that statement, is (Charles) Oliveira’s ability to not be submitted by (Islam) Makhachev,” Justin Gaethje said. “If he doesn’t get submitted, then most likely, he’s on his back for three rounds or more. And then Makhachev wins a decision, so.” 

READ MORE:  Paddy Pimblett predicts first round win over Jared Gordon at UFC 282: 'He's just not on my level'

“… If you know anything about this, this is what you think is supposed to happen,” Justin Gaethje explained. “But if you just watched Kamaru (Usman’s) fight (against Leon Edwards), then you know this is the best sport in the world because anything can happen at any given moment. I’m excited to watch the fight. I hope Oliveira beats him up. I hope Oliveira keeps it standing – I hope Oliveira stays on top of him. It would be cool to see all those things – we’ll see. We’ll see what happens, (it’s) a crazy sport.”