UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje explained how “special circumstances” should have resulted in him fighting for the vacant lightweight title.
Gaethje lost via second-round submission to former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov a year ago at UFC 254. Following the fight, however, “The Eagle” announced that he was retiring from combat sports and he vacated his belt. While many thought that Gaethje would get the first crack at the vacant belt, the UFC instead chose to go with Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler, instead. The two lightweights met in the main event of UFC 262 back in May, with Oliveira winning the belt via second-round TKO.
According to Gaethje, though, it should have been him fighting for the vacant belt. Speaking to The Schmo in a recent interview, “The Highlight” explained how “special circumstances” should have led to him getting the vacant title shot at 155lbs.
“#1 fought #5, #3 fought #4, and if you were #2, you got fucked. It just so happened that my name was next to that #2 spot. It is what it is,” Gaethje said (via MMANews.com). “I was the most recent interim titleholder. You know, I see both ways to it. From the outside, being me, yeah I was not happy. If I’m on the inside and I’m running a $4 billion company, $5 or $6 million company, then I probably want to try and have people forget about that guy. They did what they wanted to do; had to do in their eyes. I was upset, but it doesn’t matter. Gotta go on and gotta keep working
“I lost. I don’t think you should get a title shot off a loss. But I think the circumstances were special. Similar to the circumstances that got Cory Sandhagen his title fight. He came off a loss and he’s jumped in there for a title fight. And the guy (Aljamain Sterling) didn’t retire. There were even more special circumstances in that (Khabib vacating the belt). There’s other examples of people getting shots off of losses. So yeah, I thought that was a bullshit way to say I shouldn’t get it.”
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