One of the most highly anticipated fights of the year is scheduled to go down at UFC 268. Two of the best lightweights in the world will battle it out as Michael Chandler (22-6) takes on Justin Gaethje (22-3).
Both men have incredibly similar styles and both love to stand and trade. In addition to having a similar fan-friendly fighting style, both men are also in a very similar spot in their career.
Chandler just lost a UFC lightweight title fight back in May to Charles Oliveira. The last time we saw Justin Gaethje fight was at UFC 254 when he lost a lightweight title fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Both men are coming off title losses, but they still rank at the very top of the division. While they have paid some compliments to each other in the past, there is some underlying beef between the two UFC lightweights.
It all started with Chandler stating on an Instagram Live that Gaethje turned down a fight with him several times. Gaethje fired back at Chandler and said that he was slandering his name. This was all prior to the UFC finalizing the fight between the two.
UFC 268 In Flux
Today at the UFC weight in show, Justin Gaethje appeared as a guest. Michael Chandler was one of the hosts along with Daniel Cormier and several other personalities from the promotion.
Gaethje stated in the interview that he doesn’t have much of a reason to dislike Chandler, but he just does. The former interim UFC champion said to Chandler, “It’s been a while since I fought someone I didn’t like… There’s something about your face that just makes me want to punch you… It’s the smirk.”
This got a big smile out of Chandler. Chandler has seemed incredibly excited since this fight got announced. Chandler has stated that the one guy that he wants to fight more than anyone is Justin Gaethje.
Now, there was an interesting statement from Gaethje in today’s interview. Gaethje openly said that he didn’t think his fight with Chandler will take place in New York City and he was hoping that it doesn’t.
Couple this with Michael Chandler saying he’s not going to get vaccinated and it’s starting to look like UFC 268 is going to change. New York City issued a vaccine mandate and that could jeopardize the event.
Dana White has said this week that he has spoken to Madison Square Garden and there’s no issue. However, my guess is that the UFC is already planning on either moving this fight or moving their PPV to a new location. I would imagine that the promotion would like to keep Gaethje – Chandler on PPV so it will be interesting to find out where it takes place.