Top lightweight contender Justin Gaethje solidified his stance as the division No. 1 contender by outlasting former Bellator titleholder Michael Chandler at the UFC 268 pay-per-view (PPV) event earlier this month in New York City.
That’s why “The Highlight” expects to fight the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier, who collide for the Brazilian’s strap in just a few weeks. Unfortunately for Gaethje, there is also talk of giving that spot to No. 4-ranked Islam Makhachev.
“Makhachev fought No. 14, went to No. 5 and fought a late replacement in Dan Hooker,” Gaethje told UFC Unfiltered (transcribed by Farah Hannoun). “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 shit works.”
Gaethje already had a crack at the 155-pound crown in the UFC 254 headliner back in late 2020, but fell to the since-retired Khabib Nurmagomedov. Fellow contender Beneil Dariush, meanwhile, has won seven straight with four finishes.
“Do your fucking job, fight these guys, and Beneil Dariush is right here,” Gaethje continued. “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 No. 3 guy is Beneil Dariush. Handle that. That has to be handled.”
As of this writing, UFC President Dana White has yet to commit to either competitor.