Former interim UFC lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje has praised the performance of current undisputed gold holder, Charles Oliveira’s off the back of the Brazilian’s successful title knockback at UFC 269. However, maintains he will still dethrone the champion – in apparent violent fashion.
Headlining UFC 269 on Saturday, Chute Boxe trainee, Oliveira scored the first successful lightweight title defense of his reign, stopping common-opposition, former interim champion, Dustin Poirier with an eventual third round standing rear-naked choke win.
Following the victory, speculation immediately arose regarding former interim titleholder, Gaethje’s chances against Oliveira – given the fact the Aurora native had received UFC president, Dana White’s stamp of approval prior to the event regarding his championship challenge.
Embracing with Oliveira backstage, Gaethje praised the Brazilian as the legitimate champion at lightweight following his win over Poirier, but in the same breathe, claimed he would still clinch the title from him.
“I absolutely loved it,” Gaethje said of Oliveira’s performance during the UFC 269 post-fight show. “I will give no disrespect to Charles (Oliveira). He is now the undisputed champion and I cannot wait to fight him. I don’t care where or when. I saw I competitor tonight. I saw a dog and I can’t wait to break his face. He gets hit a lot.”
“He (Charles Oliveira) better pray and hope for the next however many days until our fight that he takes me down, gets his choke,” Gaethje said. “Because if not, we see what happens.”
Standing with Poirier for the majority of the opening round, Oliveira displayed his ever-improving and evolving Muay Thai arsenal, however, was dropped courtesy of a picture-perfect, short right hook from the Lafayette challenger.
According to Gaethje’s scorecard, he had the pair level heading into the third round, following a dominant grappling-heavy second frame from Oliveira.
“I had it 1-1 and I thought (Dustin) Poirier would take over,” Gaethje explained. “I’ve got to give this man (Oliveira) credit. He’s right here. I can’t wait to fight him. I’ve been working for this my whole life. To be here. After the second round, someone asked me what’s going to happen. I said, ‘I still do not know.’”
“That’s why I love this sport so much,” Gaethje said. “I still don’t know after the second round who was going to win, who was up. I had no idea. Just like I didn’t know on Thursday or Mondya of last week. That’s why I love this sport. That’s why I can’t wait to fight this dude.”
Whilst Gaethje’s manager, Dominance MMA leader, Ali Abdelaziz claimed prior to the fight that Oliveira would likely defend his title against his client in May of next year, the promotion have obviously yet to ink a deal.
Gaethje appears to welcome all ports of call for the potential championship showdown, however, would prefer to fight anywhere other than Abu Dhabi, UAE again; the site of his unification loss to the now-retired, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“He (Oliveira) just won a championship, I should build it up,” Gaethje said. “At the end of the day, it’s me trying to knock him out versus him trying to get it to the ground. That’s who we are. That’s who he’s been. That’s who I am. Whether it’s in Brazil, in America – preferably not in Abu Dhabi. I’m all in. So I can’t wait.” (H/T MMA Fighting)
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