Justin Gaethje turns 34 in November.
That means “The Highlight” may not get another chance to compete for the lightweight title if he falls short against reigning champion Charles Oliveira in the UFC 274 pay-per-view (PPV) main event this Sat. night (May 7, 2022) inside Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Gaethje lost by submission in his UFC 254 title fight back in late 2020.
“Life has been very isolated, I didn’t take any time [off], I didn’t take a vacation, too old for that shit,” Gaethje said on Episode 1 of UFC 274 Embedded. “This is the last hurrah, so I’m taking no shortcuts. I’m trying to get knockouts. That’s the quickest way out of the Octagon. I get paid by fights, not by minutes, so the quicker I can get out of there the safer I should be. [Oliveira] got dropped by Chandler, he got dropped by Poirier. Once I create that damage I’m going to continue to be methodical, patient, and dangerous the whole time.”
Oliveira (32-8, 1 NC) captured the vacant lightweight title by smashing Michael Chandler at UFC 262, then defended his strap by tapping Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. As for Gaethje (23-3), he rebounded from a submission defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 to outpoint the aforementioned Chandler in their “Fight of the Night” at UFC 268.
Elsewhere on the UFC 274 fight card, reigning strawweight titleholder Rose Namajunas looks to avenge her loss to former 115-pound champion Carla Esparza. In addition, all-action lightweight fighters Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson collide in what should be an easy lock for “Fight of the Night.”
For a closer look at the finalized UFC 274 fight card and PPV lineup click here.