Justin Gaethje doesn’t believe Islam Makhachev has earned his shot at the UFC lightweight title.
UFC 269 on Dec. 11 will see current champion Charles Oliveira attempt to defend against former interim titleholder Dustin Poirier. In the meantime, “The Highlight” and one of Dagestan’s finest make their cases.
“Makhachev fought No. 14, went to No. 5, and fought a late replacement in Dan Hooker,” Justin Gaethje said on the UFC Unfiltered podcast (h/t MMA Junkie). “It wasn’t Dan Hooker on a full camp. It does not count as much, but still, it’s two top 15 guys, none in the top five, only one in the top 10. That’s not how this sh*t works.
“Do your f*cking job, fight these guys, and Beneil Dariush is right here. And I like the dude, he’s my friend so you know I’m just going to jump over this man and expect to get a title shot when the No. 3 guy is Beneil Dariush. Handle that. That has to be handled.”
Islam Makhachev most recently extended his winning streak to nine straight with a dominant first-round kimura against Dan Hooker at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi. After the recent banter with Justin Gaethje, Makhachev is seemingly open to a fight.
So we’ll go to war ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/xIlkkWAjWI
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) November 17, 2021
“So we’ll go to war,” Makhachev responded on Twitter.
Justin Gaethje rebounded from his title defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a typical fashion when taking on Michael Chandler at UFC 268. The pair put on a potential fight of the night year resulting in the fight of the night and a split decision for Gaethje.
As for the odd man out in Beneil Dariush, he also currently rides a lengthy winning streak having won seven fights in a row. His most recent being his largest when earning a unanimous decision against Tony Ferguson at UFC 262 in May.