Justin Gaethje: ‘I Will Be Fighting For The Title Next’ With Win Over Michael Chandler

Former interim UFC lightweight champion, Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje believes, should he overcome one-time vacant lightweight title challenger, ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler in their highly-anticipated UFC 268 matchup next month, he will fight for the lightweight title against either Charles Oliveira or past-foe, Dustin Poirier next.

Making his first outing in 13 months when he draws Chandler on November 6. at Madison Square Garden in a fan-favorite main card bout, Gaethje looks to rebound to the winner’s enclosure, following a lightweight unification loss at UFC 254 on ‘Fight Island’.

The Aurora native headlined the Abu Dhabi, UAE card against the now-retired former lightweight best, Khabib Nurmagomedov, dropping a rather one-sided second round triangle loss.

Featuring twice under the promotion’s banner last year, Gaethje replaced the aforenoted, Khabib at UFC 249 in May in a doomed pairing with former interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson. Handing the Oxnard native a damaging fifth round knockout defeat, Gaethje snapped the former titleholder’s division-tying 12 fight-winning record, as well as lifting the interim crown.

While he draws Chandler, a former three-time Bellator MMA lightweight champion in November, the lightweight championship is on the line the following month in the main event of UFC 269 — with reigning champion, Oliveira drawing another former interim gold holder, Poirier. And according to Gaethje, should he halt the resurgence of Chandler, he will fight for an undisputed title next.

“Absolutely, I go out there and get the W on November 6. and I will be fighting for the title next,” Gaethje told The Schmo during a recent interview. “I’ll be fighting the winner of (Dustin) Poirier and (Charles) Oliveira, that’s definitely the plan.”

“#1 fought #5, #3 fought #4, and if you were #2, you got f*cked,” Gaethje explained. “It just so happened that my name was next to that #2 spot, so it is what it is. The opportunity is ahead of me to get what I want, so I gotta capitalize.”

As for how a pairing with Chandler would play out come November, Gaethje believes one of the two will be rendered unconscious, however, didn’t shy away from the possibility of Chandler utilizing his wrestling background.

“The dude (Chander) comes to fight,” Gaethje said. “He loves fighting just as much as me. Styles make matchups and this is a stylistic matchup for the fans. Someone’s gonna get knocked out. Unless he turns into a b*tch and tries to turn this into a wrestling match the whole time. He’s talking about timid souls taking a step backward. He’s gonna be a timid soul when he starts shooting for legs because he doesn’t like the power. That’s what I think.”


Ross Markey

An MMA fan since 2011 and covering the sport since 2016, Ross Markey has built himself into a top journalist in combat sports.

First catching on to MMA and the UFC in particular back when Brock Lesnar fought Shane Carwin, and even more so when he fought Alistair Overeem back in 2011, Ross really became enchanted with the sport from late-2013-2014 onwards.

He initially began covering MMA in tandem with football back in June 2016 just as he was finishing school. The first real event he covered on his own personal blog was UFC 200 in July of that year during international fight week. His content consisted of previews and event and results recaps. In between jobs, Ross produced content on the side before transitioning to a full-time position back in early 2019.

He initially started creating content on his own blog back in June of 2016, before becoming a staff writer, lead writer, and editor for websites such as MMA Motion, Combat Insiders, Fight Bananas, FightPost, Severe MMA, MMA Power Hour, FightBook MMA, LowKick MMA, and of course, Current MMA.

Back in 2019, Ross received the award Top Journalist of 2019 for FightBook MMA, before he was then promoted to the website's lead writer. Following a six-month period at MMA Power Hour, he was also employed as a junior editor for the company. Throughout his time in the industry, he has interviewed the likes of Colby Covington, Rhys McKee, Pedro Carvalho, Felicia Spencer, Eryk Anders, Jussier Formiga, Danni Neilan, Frans Mlambo, Alex Lohore, Blaine O'Driscoll, Modestas Bukauskas, Ross Houston, Jon Fitch, and Richie Smullen.

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