No. 2-ranked lightweight contender Justin Gaethje recently admitted to having no respect for division champion Charles Oliveira, insisting the 155-pound weight class was the “laughing stock” of UFC after “Do Bronx” captured the vacant crown by smashing Michael Chandler last May in Houston.
But Oliveira believes he earned his place among the lightweight elite, winning nine straight fights and turning away top contenders like Tony Ferguson in the process. Gaethje, meanwhile, has not competed since UFC 254 in Oct. 2020, where “The Highlight” was ended by the since-retired Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“What I have to say to Gaethje is do your job, win your fights and get your opportunity, just like I did and make it happen,” Oliveira told Sherdog.com. “I’m going to be here with my belt. When you get nine straight wins you may complain with Dana (White). I did 28 fights in the UFC in the last 11 years, I was coming from eight consecutive wins, I have the bonus record of UFC, I beat the record of submissions of Royce Gracie and Demian Maia in the organization. If I didn’t have the right to fight for the belt, who should have? If I’m the champion today, it is because I fought a lot for that.”
Gaethje (22-3), no stranger to logging complaints against his lightweight brethren, will have a chance to back up his recent comments when he collides with Chandler at the upcoming UFC 268 pay-per-view (PPV) event this November in New York City. The winner is likely to secure the next 155-pound title shot.
As for Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC), he’s in negotiations to fight No. 1-ranked lightweight contender Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 in December, though nothing is official at this time. Poirier — who already holds a knockout victory over Gaethje — is coming off back-to-back wins over former champion Conor McGregor in Las Vegas.