Justin Gaethje is speaking out about Daniel Cormier’s cageside commentary last weekend at UFC 267 and “Highlight” is not happy with the way things were handled.
Gaethje, who meets Michael Chandler in a pivotal lightweight matchup this weekend at UFC 268 in New York City, took offense to Cormier’s commentary towards former teammate Islam Makhachev during his clash with Dan Hooker. Makhachev ended up winning the fight via first-round submission to earn his ninth-straight win inside of the Octagon.
Cormier, who is usually really good with keeping his commentary unbiased, praised Makhachev after the fight and called for his former teammate to get the next shot at the UFC lightweight title. The notion wasn’t completely out of left field considering Makhachev has won nine fights in a row, but “DC” pretty much dismissed Gaethje’s upcoming matchup with Chandler this weekend with those same comments. That prompted Gaethje to take to social media and show his frustration.
Gaethje, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the lightweight division, believes a win over Chandler this weekend nets him the next title shot. “Highlight” further explained his distaste for Cormier’s commentary earlier this week during UFC 268’s pre-fight press conference (replay HERE).
“Yeah (Makhachev’s win) was impressive. Sucks for Dan, late replacement. He wasn’t the guy coming off a full camp for Islam. That’s what that was,” said Gaethje.
“(Cormier) was incredibly biased. At the end of the day, I love Cormier. I felt it was my job that night to tweet and call it out because that’s what I saw. Outside that, it doesn’t matter. I think he knows that he should be in an unbiased mindset when he’s doing this, and I would hope that’s important to him.”
Cormier, who has been doing his UFC commentary gig for a few years now, recently spoke about the accusations and remains adamant that he did nothing out of the ordinary during Makhachev’s fight at UFC 267.
“How could I be biased to Islam?” Cormier said on Debate DC on Vover (via MMA Fighting). “What could I have possibly said positive about Dan Hooker in that fight? There is no bias whenever a fight is clearly on one side. That’s where it becomes a bit much for me and that’s when you start to understand and realize why the people from the outside, their opinions don’t matter as much because they make those types of claims.”
“I don’t mind addressing this whole bias thing,” Cormier added. “I think it’s absurd. I don’t agree at all. I think it’s absurd and if you ask me if I am biased towards Islam Makhachev or Khabib Nurmagomedov - guys, I have called Khabib’s fights, Luke Rockhold, Deron Winn, Islam Makhachev, I’ve called all of their fights and I feel like I have done their opponents justice. I go out of my way to make sure that we do their opponents justice. I’m a professional and for as much as I love my teammates, I understand the difference to separate myself from that....
“Look man, if you’re not getting critiqued then you’re not doing a great job.”
Gaethje and Cormier are true professionals and do seem to like one another so this is likely water on the bridge. However, it will be interesting to see if either Gaethje or Cormier mention anything about this during the broadcast for UFC 268 this weekend.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 268 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPNEWS/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.