UFC: Justin Gaethje is now the odd man out at lightweight

Last week, we learned that UFC 262 will be headlined by the vacant lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira. The pairing was a little shocking considering neither of those two are the UFC‘s top two ranked lightweights.

The two top spots currently belong to Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje (22-3). Poirier is currently negotiating with the UFC and they are looking to book him in the trilogy fight with Conor McGregor in July.

With Poirier off the table, Gaethje is the top guy. Gaethje was the interim lightweight champion when he made the walk to face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254. The Highlight fell short, but he still maintains his top ranking.

In an interview that was posted this morning, Gaethje expressed his confusion with the turn of events. Gaethje said, “I can’t talk about it (the lightweight picture) right now. I’m sure me talking about it is the reason I’m here. Maybe I’ve pissed someone off.”

The UFC had been working on a matchup between Gaethje and Michael Chandler. However, once Khabib said he was staying retired, the promotion shifted gears and booked Chandler against Oliveira which doesn’t make sense.

What’s next for Justin Gaethje in the UFC?

I personally think it’s a little ridiculous that the UFC is crowning a new lightweight champion and neither one of those guys are ranked at the top of the division. It seems completely backwards and Justin Gaethje should be incredibly frustrated.

As mentioned, Gaethje was the former interim champion. Charles Oliveira has won eight fights in a row, but only one of those guys is inside the UFC’s top ten. Michael Chandler has had one fight inside the UFC and it was against someone outside the top five.

Neither one of those fighters are more deserving than Gaethje in my opinion. However, the UFC saw things differently. Now, what happens from here? Well, it appears that Gaethje is going to be on the sidelines for some time.

One fight for Gaethje would be against former lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13). That would be the fight I’d try to make for Gaethje. However, there’s no guarantees that gets made. At the moment, Gaethje is stuck between a rock and a hard place with the UFC.

BREAKING: UFC books Michael Chandler – Charles Oliveira for the lightweight title

As I’m writing this, I feel like my head is spinning from all of the UFC news this evening. The promotion finalized a couple of incredible main events in the bantamweight division, then we got the announcement that Khabib Nurmagomedov is staying retired. 

Just when you thought the news was over, the UFC had other plans. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto has reported that the headliner of UFC 262 on May 15th will be for the lightweight championship. Former Bellator champion, Michael Chandler (22-5) will take on Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC).

The lightweight division has been in a state of limbo over the past few months. Dana White has been trying to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to come back for one more fight, but the UFC‘s lightweight champion has stuck to his guns and is staying retired.

With that, it’s time to move on. Charles Oliveira is getting the title shot that he’s been holding out for. Oliveira has turned down multiple fights because he’s wanted to fight for the UFC title and the promotion is granting him that wish.

Oliveira has gone on an incredible run in the UFC‘s lightweight division. Do Bronx has won eight fights in a row including one over former interim champion, Tony Ferguson. Seven of those eight wins have been finishes.

UFC title shot for the former Bellator champion

Michael Chandler was the biggest MMA free agent signing in 2020. After knocking out Benson Henderson to close out his Bellator contract, all of the top promotions ended up in a bidding war for his services.

Ultimately, Chandler wanted to face the best competition which is why he signed with the UFC. He made his debut with the promotion back at UFC 257 in the co-main event against Dan Hooker.

Chandler closed as a betting underdog, however, Chandler went out and knocked Hooker out in the first round. With that performance, he showed everyone in the UFC that he’s not here just to take part.

Just this week, there were rumors surrounding Chandler potentially fighting Justin Gaethje next. However, Gaethje recently said that he wants a minimum of 12 weeks before his next fight. With that, the UFC shifted gears and now Oliveira and Chandler will battle it out for the lightweight title on May 15th.

UFC working on Justin Gaethje – Michael Chandler (Report)

The UFC is currently working on booking one of the most anticipated matchups of 2021. Per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the promotion is currently working towards booking a lightweight showdown between Justin Gaethje (22-3) and Michael Chandler (22-5).

As of now, the word is that the UFC is tentatively targeting for this matchup to be in the early summer. This is a fight that fans have been anxious to see. It’s also a fight that makes perfect sense given the landscape of the lightweight division.

Michael Chandler made his highly anticipated debut at UFC 257. Chandler got a co-main event slot opposite Dan Hooker on the Conor McGregor -Dustin Poirier 2 card. When the stage was the biggest, Michael Chandler showed out.

Chandler closed as the betting underdog, but he stormed out of the gate and knocked out Dan Hooker in the first round. With that performance, he put all of the UFC lightweights on notice.

Chandler has said that he wants to become the UFC‘s lightweight champion in 2021. He said he knows that it will require more wins and one of the guys he really wanted to face was the former interim lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje.

UFC title eliminator?

Back at UFC 254, Justin Gaethje got his shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title. Like 28 men before him, Gaethje fell short in his attempt to dethrone The Eagle. After the fight was over, Gaethje said he’d need another win before a title shot.

After all the fights at UFC 257, Gaethje said that he’d be down to fight the “cringey” Michael Chandler. It now appears that he’s going to get that chance. Prior to the loss to Khabib back in October, Justin Gaethje had been on quite the roll in the lightweight division.

Gaethje had four straight knockouts over Tony Ferguson, Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza, and James Vick to earn his interim title. Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje are two finishers and two of the most exciting lightweights in the UFC. Whenever this fight takes place, it should be fireworks.

Justin Gaethje is sick of hearing that Charles Oliveira deserves a UFC title shot

Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) is one of the best lightweights in the UFC. There is no questioning his talent or questioning how impressive he’s been as of late. However, Oliveira is not gaining any fans with his recent stance on what’s next for him.

Just today, Oliveira shot down a potential fight with Nate Diaz. Over the last month, Oliveira has told the UFC that he would not face Nate Diaz (20-12), Justin Gaethje (22-3), or Michael Chandler (22-5). Instead, he’s demanded that he fights for the title next.

As of now, the UFC lightweight title is in limbo. Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) is the undisputed lightweight champion, however, he’s maintained that he’s been retired for the last couple of months. Yet, Dana White is still holding onto hope that he changes his mind.

Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) proved last month at UFC 257 that he deserves to fight for the title next after he knocked out Conor McGregor (22-5). Oliveira has been vocal that he only wants to fight Poirier, but it has to be for the title.

This hasn’t sat well with former interim lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje. Gaethje took to Twitter tonight to voice his frustrations about Oliveira’s stance. Gaethje made it quite clear by stating, “What the f*ck has this dude done to get a shot at the title?”

UFC’s lightweight situation

Gaethje made it clear tonight that he’s sick of Oliveira claiming that he deserves anything. In all honesty, Gaethje does have a point that I also raised in my article about why Oliveira won’t get the next shot at the UFC lightweight title. 

Yes, Oliveira has won eight fights in a row. That alone is incredibly impressive. However, when you really dive into the winning streak, it’s not all that impressive. Yes, Oliveira’s win over Tony Ferguson (25-5) was incredibly impressive.

However, only one other fighter on that list of eight ranks inside the top fifteen. In Oliveira’s last nine fights, he’s fought two guys who are currently ranked tenth or higher in the division. He’s 1-1 in those two matchups with the loss coming against Paul Felder.

Oliveira is playing a very risky game with the UFC. The promotion is giving him opportunities to make himself more of a household name and legitimizing his top contender status. However, he keeps turning things down because he claims he has nothing to prove. Dangerous tightrope he’s walking with this train of thought.

Charles Oliveira only interested in UFC title shot; shoots down Nate Diaz matchup

The UFC has their work cut out for them with Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Oliveira is currently on an eight-fight winning steak and he’s made it very clear that he wants a title shot in his next fight. However, the UFC hasn’t been leaning in that direction as of now.

The promotion has tried to book Oliveira against multiple opponents and Oliveira continues to turn down fights. The UFC tried to book Oliveira against Justin Gaethje (22-3) in a title eliminator. Oliveira turned down that fight.

The UFC then tried to pair Oliveira up against Michael Chandler (22-5). They actually tried to make this fight happen a few times. However, every time they called with the offer, Oliveira turned down the fight.

This week, one of the biggest stars in the sport called out Oliveira. Nate Diaz (20-12) said that he would like to face Oliveira when he returns to the octagon. Well, Oliveira took to Twitter to respond today and you can probably guess what his response was.

Oliveira’s game of hardball with the UFC

Do Bronx took to Twitter with a simple post stating, “No interest, homie. Goal: Lightweight belt.” Now, the UFC hasn’t actually approached Oliveira about fighting Nate Diaz, but they now know what his answer would be regardless.

Listen, I completely respect where Oliveira is coming from. He believes he deserves a title shot and he’s willing to say no until he gets it. However, this isn’t always rewarded by the the UFC especially when you’re not a star.

Oliveira’s big problem here is that he’s not a star and he doesn’t have leverage in negotiations. Conor McGregor could do something like this because of the cash cow that he is. However, Oliveira has no pull in this situation against the UFC.

If we’ve learned anything about Dana White, it’s that he loves guys who are down to fight anyone at anytime. Charles Oliveira’s mission is respectable, but it’s not going to make him popular with the brass at the UFC. Three big-time opponents and Oliveira has turned them all down. I have to say, I don’t think it’s wise.

UFC leaning towards booking Poirier – McGregor 3 next (Report)

A few weeks ago at UFC 257, Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) proved to the world that he’s the best lightweight with Khabib out of the picture. Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor (22-5) in their rematch from UFC 178.

McGregor won the first round, however, Poirier was chipping away and doing damage. Poirier’s leg kicks were doing some serious damage and by the second round, McGregor had nothing left on his lead leg.

With his leg severely compromised, McGregor was helpless against the barrage from Dustin Poirier. Poirier ended up scoring the second round knockout at UFC 257. In retrospect, this fight should have been for the lightweight title.

Dana White has been trying to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) to come back for one more fight. However, the UFC‘s lightweight champion has maintained that he’s not interested in returning. As a result, the lightweight division remains in limbo.

After Poirier’s victory, Dana White initially indicated that he’d like to see Poirier face Michael Chandler for the lightweight title. However, Poirier made it clear that is not what he wanted to do next.

The UFC’s Plan

Since UFC 257, Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC), Michael Chandler (22-5), and Nate Diaz (20-12) have all called for fights against Poirier. Of course, McGregor’s camp has been very vocal that they’d like to do the trilogy next.

Of those options, Poirier said he would be interested in everyone but Michael Chandler. With that in mind, the UFC has been working behind the scenes on what’s next for The Diamond. Well, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani said yesterday that the promotion is moving in a specific direction.

As of now, the UFC is currently planning on doing the trilogy between Poirier and McGregor next. There is no timeline as of now, but the word is that McGregor would love to do the fight in May. It is not known if the UFC lightweight title would be on the line in this matchup.

The one guy who could be an odd man out here is Charles Oliveira. As of now, the UFC also appears more likely to book Chandler against Justin Gaethje (22-3). I also think Nate Diaz is more likely to fight someone like Tony Ferguson as opposed to Charles Oliveira.

Charles Oliveira has turned down fights because he’s adamant that he wants a title shot next. However, it now appears that he could be the odd man out in the UFC’s lightweight division. We will have to see how this plays out.

UFC: Justin Gaethje down to fight ‘Cringey’ Michael Chandler

Ever since UFC 258 concluded, the lightweight division has been in the news non-stop. We have fighters calling each other out and some fighters saying others are not worthy of certain fights. Several potential matchups materializing in front of our eyes.

At UFC 258, Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) knocked out Conor McGregor (22-5) and proved to the world that he’s the best lightweight not named Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0). Khabib is the current lightweight champion, although he’s maintained that he’s been retired since UFC 254.

Before Poirier knocked out McGregor, Michael Chandler (22-5) made his debut with the UFC in the co-main event. Chandler knocked out Dan Hooker (20-10) with a massive left hook and a few follow up shots.

While all of this is unfolding, the former interim UFC lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje (22-3), has been sitting back waiting for his next move. Gaethje said the UFC attempted to call him before the PPV, but he wanted to see how things shook out.

Back in October, Gaethje failed in his attempt to become UFC lightweight champion. He as choked out by Khabib, but despite the loss, he remains the second ranked contender in the lightweight division.

Gaethje has not been calling for a title shot, instead, he’s been calling for any fight. He believes that he needs to get a win before he gets his next UFC title shot. There are several names Gaethje is thinking about next.

UFC’s options for Justin Gaethje

Before UFC 258, Dana White had said that the promotion was going to work on Gaethje – Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). However, that fight has not materialized and Oliveira has turned down fights since then due to his desire to fight for the title. 

Last week, Gaethje said that he would ‘SmokeNate Diaz (20-12) if the UFC would give him that opportunity. Of course, he’s also talked about his desire to fight Conor McGregor. However, Gaethje has maintained that McGregor doesn’t want to fight him.

There does seem to be one perfect match for Gaethje and that is Michael Chandler. Gaethje said he respects Chandler but finds him cringey and Chandler told ESPN this week that he believes that him and Gaethje are on a collision course. A fight between the two men could materialize quickly.

Yesterday, Gaethje’s manager told ESPN that Gaethje is very much open to fighting Michael Chandler. It seems like the perfect fight to make for the UFC is pairing up Chandler and Justin Gaethje. Both men want the fight and it would create some much needed clarity at 155.

UFC attempted to make Chandler – Oliveira; Oliveira turned it down

The UFC lightweight division is in a very unique spot at the moment. It’s the most exciting division in the promotion, however, there is a lot of cloudiness surrounding the top of the division. Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) has said he’s retired, yet he’s still the UFC champion.

Back at UFC 257, Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) knocked out Conor McGregor (22-5) in the main event. In retrospect, that fight should have been for the vacant lightweight title with the assumption that Khabib is staying retired.

In the co-main event of the evening, Michael Chandler (22-5) knocked out Dan Hooker (20-10) in the first round. The win was a huge statement in the UFC debut of Michael Chandler. Chandler had spent virtually his entire career with Bellator to that point.

After the fights, Dana White said that the UFC was going to have to figure out what to do with the division. Obviously, Dustin Poirier would be fighting for the title next, but the promotion didn’t know who that would be against.

Poirier only seemed interested in McGregor, Nate Diaz (20-12), or Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Meanwhile, Dana White seemed more interested in having Chandler fight Poirier for the lightweight title. This is an idea that Poirier was not a fan of because he felt Chandler hadn’t earned a shot in the UFC.

UFC attempted to book Chandler – Oliveira

Last week we learned that the co-main event of UFC 258 between Chris Weidman and Uriah Hall fell through. Also around the same time, Michael Chandler posted on his Instagram that he was Dana White’s new “Yes Man” which left people wondering what was going on.

Well, according to a report from AG Fight, Chandler was offered the co-main event slot at UFC 258. His opponent would have been none other than Charles Oliveira. This goes along with what Chandler told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani this week.

This is a matchup that would’ve provided a great deal of clarity in the lightweight division. However, Oliveira turned down the fight according to the report citing his desire to fight for the title next.

Granted, there might have been other reasons behind the decision, but nevertheless, Oliveira turned down the fight with Michael Chandler. If he couldn’t get ready in time, I completely understand. However, if this was a move out of principle, I really don’t agree with the move.

Charles Oliveira’s eight-fight win streak is incredible. It’s enough to warrant a title shot, however, as I put in my article yesterday, the UFC is not going to give him the next shot. At least, I would be extremely surprised if they do.

That said, this could have been a golden chance for Oliveira to force their hand. Had Oliveira fought and defeated the new company man, the UFC would have nothing left other than offering him a title shot. Time will tell if this was a smart decision or not, but as of now, I really don’t agree with it.

The case for and against Charles Oliveira getting the next UFC title shot

The UFC‘s lightweight division is in a very unique spot. There’s still not really clarity at the top of the division with the undisputed champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), seemingly retired. Yet, he still holds on to the title.

Just over a week ago at UFC 257, we saw Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) knock out Conor McGregor (22-5). In retrospect, this fight should have been for the vacant UFC lightweight title if Khabib is truly retired. However, Dana White has held out stripping Khabib in hoping he’ll come back.

In all likelihood, Khabib is not going to return to the UFC. At least, he’s not going to return anytime soon. With that, there’s no doubting that the top guy in the UFC is currently Dustin Poirier. You could consider him the uncrowned champion at this point.

After his win at UFC 257, Poirier said that he was only interested in a few opponents for his next fight. Keep in mind that his next fight should be for the lightweight title. Poirier said that he would fighter McGregor, Nate Diaz (20-12), or Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC).

The hardcore fans are very much behind Oliveira getting the title shot. However, we know that the UFC is a business and sometimes the best business decision outweighs the fair decision. With that, should Charles Oliveira be the next in line for the title?

Case For Oliveira’s title shot

The easy thing to say here is that of course Oliveira deserves a title shot in his next fight. He’s currently on an eight-fight win streak where he’s finished seven opponents. In the UFC’s lightweight division, that’s almost unheard of.

Oliveira last competed at UFC 256 when he took on former interim champion, Tony Ferguson (25-5). Oliveira completely dominated Tony Ferguson over three rounds and came extremely close to finishing him in the first round.

After the fight, Oliveira said that he wanted the Poirier – McGregor winner for the title. After Poirier’s win at UFC 257, he also seems on board with fighting Do Bronx for the lightweight championship. However, is the UFC going to do that?

Oliveira has been sensational, however, during this eight-fight winning streak, he only has one top ten win. He submitted Kevin Lee and defeated Tony Ferguson, however, Ferguson’s stock had dropped after the beating he took from Justin Gaethje (22-3).

Why the UFC will likely say no

While Oliveira has looked sensational, he still doesn’t have that much general/casual steam behind him. There’s not an outcry from the public to see him fight Dustin Poirier for the title. While the MMA purest would love to see him fight for the title, it wouldn’t be the best business decision.

For Oliveira to get a title shot and it make sense on all fronts, he needs another big win. He needs to defeat someone else who has a big following in the UFC. If Oliveira can beat a guy like Gaethje or Michael Chandler (22-5) next, I think it would put him over the top.

I’m honestly torn on Charles Oliveira getting the next shot. I get it, he’s won eight in a row. However, only one of those wins was considered to come against the division’s elite. That combined with the lack of drawing power makes me hesitant to throw him in there against Poirier.

Anything can happen, but I would be pretty surprised if Oliveira gets the next UFC title shot. At the end of the day, you have to check the boxes of big business and resume. At the moment, Oliveira only checks the resume which is why I think he ultimately will not get the next shot.

Dan Hooker wants to be in sync with his team before his next UFC fight

It’s been a little over a week since the lightweight showcase at UFC 257. Of course there was all the attention in the world on the main event, but the co-main event was so intriguing to fight fans and incredibly important for the lightweight division.

Michael Chandler (22-5) was making his UFC debut and he wasn’t getting a layup. The promotion gave Chandler, Dan Hooker (20-10) for his first fight. Don’t let the record fool you, Hooker is one of the best lightweights in the world.

Hooker struggled early on in his UFC career because he was killing himself to make featherweight. However, when he made the jump to lightweight, he’s shown he’s one of the very best in the world.

Prior to UFC 257, Hooker was 7-2 at lightweight and held wins over Gilbert Burns, Al Iaquinta, and Paul Felder. Hooker was coming off of a loss to Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC), but the fight was razor close. Had Hooker won that fight, he might’ve been the one fighting Conor McGregor (22-5).

Nevertheless, Hooker was tasked with welcoming Michael Chandler and it didn’t go as planned for Hooker. Hooker really never got a chance to get going as he was caught with a massive left hook that put him down in the first.

It was the first time Hooker had lost by TKO when the shots were to the head. A frustrated Hooker threw down his UFC gloves after the fight and many wondered if he was done. However, he recently told Submission Radio that he’s not done fighting and laid out his future timeline.

UFC return for Dan Hooker

On throwing his gloves, Hooker said, “Yeah, you’re always frustrated after a loss. In that moment, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m done, I’m finished with this sh*tty sport!’ Then you get back to the hotel and realize you’re not good at anything else.”

Hooker had a great attitude and was laughing about what happened at UFC 257. The top lightweight contender seemed to be taking it in stride knowing that losses are just a part of the game.

When asked about his UFC return, Hooker said that he’d like to get synced back up with his team. Normally, his team at City Kickboxing is all training together for a fight. However, everyone has had different schedules and because of that, Hooker didn’t even have his head coach at UFC 257.

“I get pretty jealous watching all the boys on the same card or roughly fighting around the same time. (After) They bang out these fights in March then they’ll look to get back in there two or three months later, it’ll be cool to get back in sync with them,” Hooker said.

With that, it appears that Hooker is targeting a late spring or early summer UFC return. I’m so glad to see Dan Hooker being so positive after UFC 257. He’s still one of the best in the world and I’m looking forward to seeing who the promotion matches him up with next.