Charles Oliveira (32-8) stepped into UFC 269 in a rare position for a champion; he was the underdog in his title fight with Dustin Poirier. Oliveira quieted the skeptics and validated himself as the UFC’s lightweight champion with a third-round submission of Poirier.
Sitting cage-side for the bout was (as of this writing) the #2 ranked lightweight contender and next in line, Justin Gaethje. Speaking with ESPN after Oliveira’s successful defense, Gaethje said that he was impressed with Oliveira’s performance.
Respect The Name
In the past, Gaethje has been critical of “Do Bronx,” claiming that Oliveira “quits” when faced with adversity in the cage. Clearly, Oliveira’s last two performances, which included a TKO victory over ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler at UFC 262, have changed Gaethje’s mind. “I absolutely loved it, “Gaethje told ESPN immediately following the fight.
“I will give no disrespect to Charles. He is now the undisputed champion, and I cannot wait to fight him. I saw a competitor tonight. I saw a dog, and I can’t wait to break his face. He gets hit a lot, and he better pray and hope for next however many days until our fight that he takes me down and gets his choke. Because if not, we’ll see what happens.”
Gaethje and Oliveira came together backstage after the conclusion of the main event. Cameras caught the interaction. Both fighters were highly respectful of one another, but all of that changes once the cage door shuts behind them in 2022.
During the post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White confirmed that Gaethje is next in line for a shot at the 155-pound title. No time frame was given for the match-up, but Gaethje is excited for his opportunity, and fans will be eagerly anticipating an official announcement.
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