Reigning UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira believes Justin Gaethje is wasting his time trying to win the mental game ahead of their upcoming title fight next month at UFC 274.
Oliviera, who is coming off his first official title defense with a submission win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 269, has now won his last 10 trips to the Octagon. That happens to include nine stoppages and two title fight wins. To say that “Do Bronx” is on cruise control right now would be an understatement.
That said, Gaethje will be looking to stop the rolling train when he meets Oliveira in a lightweight title fight at UFC 274. It will be the second undisputed UFC title shot for “Highlight,” who is coming off a Fight of the Year candidate opposite Michael Chandler at UFC 268. While Gaethje isn’t usually the type of fighter to talk trash about an opponent he has said a few things along the way that have diminished the Octagon accomplishments of Oliveira.
Luckily, Oliveira has thick skin. The reigning UFC lightweight champion is never going to let words distract him from a fight and he hopes to prove Gaethje wrong when they meet in just a few weeks.
“Justin Gaethje is coming up with a lot of bullsh*t,” said Oliveira during a recent interview with Brazilian media outlet Olhar da Luta (transcription via MMA Clips Brazil). “I think that’s what he’s trying to do, to win the mind game. But that makes no difference to me. I learned that we have two ears to listen but we also have to let it out... If he thinks he can beat me in a standing fight, he can try to knock me out. If he thinks he’s a better wrestler than me, he can take me down too.”
There haven’t been too many promotional efforts by UFC for this lightweight clash between Oliveira and Gaethje, but fight fans already know what they’re going to get. Gaethje is easily one of the most violent and offensively aggressive fighters in the history of the sport while Oliveira is UFC’s all-time leader in finishes. It’s a recipe for absolute chaos.
We’ll have to wait and see if Gaethje’s mental game has any impact on the fight itself.
UFC 274 will go down on May 7 live on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Oliveira vs. Gaethje will serve as the main event with a women’s strawweight title fight between current champion Rose Namajunas and top contender Carla Esparza holding down the co-headliner spot. Not to mention the main card clash between lightweight favorites Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson.
For more UFC 274 fight card news click here.