After UFC 268, Justin Gaethje is next in line for the lightweight championship

Daniel Cunningham
May 9, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Dana White puts the championship belt on Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) after defeating Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday at UFC 268, we saw one of the best fights if not the best fight of 2021 kicking off the PPV. A lightweight showdown between Justin Gaethje (23-3) and Michael Chandler (22-7) kicked off the UFC 268 main card in style.

Usually when you see a fight that has a ton of hype, the fight normally disappoints. You think to yourself, “There’s no way that this fight can possibly live up to the hype,” and most of the time, it doesn’t. Well, this is one of those times where the fight completely delivered.

From the opening bell at UFC 268, both Gaethje and Chandler through everything that they had at the other. The first round saw Chandler rock Gaethje a couple of times. However, Gaethje landed big shots of his own. In the second round, Gaethje dropped Chandler and nearly finished him.

The final round saw Gaethje throw everything including the kitchen sink at a smiling Michael Chandler. The fight was absolutely incredible and in the end, Justin Gaethje walked away victorious and cemented his status at the top of the division.

Is Gaethje next for the UFC title?

Originally, this fight between Chandler and Gaethje was being looked at as a title eliminator. However, after Islam Makhachev’s performance at UFC 267, there was talk about whether or not Makhachev would jump the line. However, the fight on Saturday put that to rest.

Prior to Saturday night, Gaethje last fought at UFC 254 when he took on Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title. Gaethje lost that fight but he entered the contest as the interim UFC lightweight champion.

Gaethje is now 5-2 in his last seven fights with four stoppages. The only two losses he’s had have come against Khabib and Dustin Poirier. There is no doubt in my mind that Justin Gaethje will be next for the UFC lightweight title.

Next month at UFC 269, Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira will battle for the lightweight title. Whoever wins that fight will have Gaethje waiting for them. Whether it’s a rematch with Poirier or a showdown with Oliveira, Gaethje will be ready for his second crack at undisputed UFC gold.