UFC: Justin Gaethje Is Feeling Frustrated But Is Sticking To His Guns
Former UFC lightweight title challenger Justin Gaethje, has expressed his frustration over a lack of clarity on his fighting future.
Gaethje hasn’t competed since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 last October. Immediately after the fight, ‘The Eagle’ announced his retirement, but Dana White chased him for months in the hope of bringing him back, before finally letting the Russian walk into the sunset last week.
With Khabib retired, Charles Oliveira will fight Michael Chandler for the vacant title at UFC 262 on May 15th. The event will also feature a top ten contest between Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush. And with a trilogy fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor in the works for the summer, it leaves Gaethje as the only fighter in the top six without a dance partner.
Speaking to Raptors MMA (as transcribed by MMA Junkie), Gaethje expressed his confusion as to why he finds himself in this predicament.
“Who knows, man,” Gaethje said. “I can’t talk about it a lot right now. I’m sure me talking about it is the reason I’m here in the past. Who knows? Maybe I p***ed someone off, I don’t know. All I know is since I was 12, 13 years old, I listened to Dana White do his interviews and explain what he wanted in a fighter, and I’m that motherf***er.”
Gaethje has been critical of Dana’s handling of the lightweight title picture in the past, mainly the push Chandler received from the promotion after signing from Bellator last year.
While the former interim champion wants to get back inside the Octagon as soon as possible, he said that he won’t settle for less than what he deserves.
“If I get disrespected, it’s gonna be hurtful because I really bought in to what that man talked about,” Gaethje said. “So yeah, it’ll hurt because I feel like I’m a company man from day one. I don’t ever wanna go anywhere else, I don’t ever want to fight anywhere else. But my principles are the most important thing to me, so we’ll see what happens.”
Before the UFC announced that Oliveira and Chandler would fight for the vacant title at UFC 262 in response to Dana finally accepting Khabib’s retirement, the promotion was working on a fight between Gaethje and the former Bellator champion.
Earlier this week, Islam Makhachev said that while he expects to fight Rafael dos Anjos next, he would love to be matched up with Gaethje.
Who would you like to see Justin Gaethje fight next?