Justin Gaethje avenged his loss to Dustin Poirier and captured the “BMF” belt with a thrilling, second-round knockout victory over “The Diamond” in the UFC 291 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last Sat. night at Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The performance shot Gaethje right back into lightweight title contention and could have “The Highlight” fighting Islam Makhachev, assuming the reigning 155-pound champion defeats Charles Oliveira in the UFC 294 headliner later this year in Abu Dhabi.
A big money fight against Conor McGregor is also an option. “Notorious” was expected to face fellow TUF 31 coach Michael Chandler to close out 2023, but the rumor mill has UFC searching for a new opponent while McGregor sorts through his USADA issues.
Gaethje is currently a +425 (17/4) underdog against Makhachev -600 (1/6), according to the MMA bookies over at BetOnline.ag. As for McGregor, “The Highlight” opened as the -325 (4/13) betting favorite against the surgically-repaired Irishman at +250 (5/2).
Nothing is official at this time and the promotion could be planning an entirely different path for the No. 3-ranked Gaethje, who is likely to take over Poirier’s No. 2 spot at 155 pounds when the official lightweight rankings are updated on Tues. morning.