Justin Gaethje may not have to riot after all.
Gaethje (23-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC), who’s coming off a “Fight of the Year” contender against Michael Chandler at UFC 268, has bounced back emphatically from his title loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2020.
Prior to facing Chandler, Gaethje said he planned on rioting if he wasn’t rewarded with a title shot after winning. After his win, Gaethje made it clear that he must fight the winner of next week’s UFC 269 main event between champion Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier to “justify the integrity of this sport.”
Turns out Gaethje shouldn’t have to worry about that based on UFC president Dana White’s words.
“Yup (he’s next),” White said Wednesday on “The Jim Rome Podcast.” “As long as everybody’s healthy and everything’s good, it should be him, coming off one of the greatest fights anybody’s ever seen in their life.”
A pivotal 155-pound clash between streaking contenders Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush on Feb. 26 could determine the next No. 1 contender – but according to White, not before Gaethje gets his shot.
Gaethje, a former interim lightweight champ, could get a chance to avenge his 2018 TKO loss to Poirier if “The Diamond” wins. If Oliveira retains his title, he’ll meet a man whom he’s accused of quitting, citing some of his past stoppage losses at 145 pounds.
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