Justin Gaethje may have missed out on his chance to fight for the vacant lightweight title, but “Highlight” is still in a great position at 155 pounds.
After Khabib Nurmagomedov officially retired earlier this month UFC booked Michael Chandler vs. Charles Oliveira for UFC 262 this May for the vacant lightweight strap. It was a fight that Gaethje was training for and expected to land, but the promotion ultimately went in a different direction. It surprised many considering Chandler only has one UFC fight under his belt.
Luckily for Gaethje, UFC president Dana White still believes he’s a major part of the lightweight division. “Highlight” may have been passed up this time around, but the promotion continues to hold Gaethje in high regard.
“He fits very well in all this,” said White during the UFC 260 pre-fight press conference (replay HERE). “After this plays out, he’s probably next in line. It depends on what happens with Dustin and Conor.”
While a title fight between Chandler and Oliveira will crown the next lightweight champion a trilogy bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier is likely to name the next top contender at 155 pounds. Those two aren’t expected to fight until July. White revealed earlier this week that the winner of Chandler vs. Oliveira could meet Gaethje, but with McGregor in the mix nothing is for certain.
“You know how that is. Timing is everything when these fights happen, how much damage did the guy who won take and what kind of personal sh*t does he have going on,” White said. “You know all that stuff factors into when the next fight would be, but Justin Gaethje couldn’t be in a better position.”
If Gaethje is unwilling to wait to see how things play out atop the UFC’s lightweight division then maybe he can lock down a potential bout with rising contender Islam Makhachev. It seems like the best matchup for both fighters and a quick way to keep “Highlight” active and relevant over the next few months.
What say you, Maniacs? Should Gaethje wait for the next lightweight title shot? Or should he fight now and push for a matchup with Makhachev?
Let us know in the comments below!