Justin Gaethje (23-3) believes he is next in line for a shot at the UFC lightweight title. Islam Makhachev disagrees.
At UFC 269 on December 11th, current lightweight champion Charles Oliveira will defend his title against former interim title holder Dustin Poirier. As we get closer to that date, the debate of who faces the winner is getting heated.
Appearing on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Justin Gaethje made his case. “Makhachev fought number 14, went to number 5 and fought a late replacement Dan Hooker,” said Gaethje. “It wasn’t Dan Hooker on a full camp. It does not count as much, but still, it’s two top 15 guys, none in the top five, only one in the top 10. That’s not how this sh*t works.”
“Do your f*cking job, fight these guys, and Beneil Dariush is right here. And I like the dude, he’s my friend so you know I’m just going to jump over this man and expect to get a title shot when the number 3 guy is Beneil Dariush. Handle that. That has to be handled.”
“We’ll Go To War”
After losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254, Gaethje got back into the win column earning a unanimous decision victory over “Iron” Michael Chandler in a fight of the year contender.
At UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi, Islam Makhachev earned his ninth straight victory by submitting Dan Hooker in dominant fashion. After Gaethje’s comments, Makhachev responded on Twitter, “So we’ll go to war.” Riding a lengthy winning streak, Makhachev appears to be open to a fight with Gaethje to settle the debate of who the true #1 contender is.
Khabib Nurmagomedov chimed in with his thoughts on who deserves the winner of Oliveira vs. Poirier. “In last 8 fight, you got finished 3 times Justin,” Nurmagomedov wrote. “You had an opportunity to become champion, but you fell asleep Islam is on the 9 win streak, 3 fight in 2021 and all finishes. Just shut up and admit that Islam deserves this title shot, not you.”
Despite being the odd man out of the conversation, Beneil Dariush is riding a seven-fight winning streak and could certainly make a case for a lightweight title shot. His most recent victory came against Tony Ferguson via unanimous decision at UFC 262 in May.
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