This weekend, on Saturday, July 29, 2023, fight fans around the world are eagerly anticipating the highly awaited rematch between Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier at UFC 291.
The epic clash for the coveted "Baddest Motherf—ker (BMF)" belt will take place inside the prestigious Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, promising an explosive showdown between two of the sport's most elite fighters.
However, amidst the excitement of this epic showdown, it is clear that Justin Gaethje has his sights firmly set on a different prize - the UFC Lightweight title, which is currently held by the formidable Islam Makhachev.
Looking ahead to future UFC events, Islam Makhachev is scheduled to face Charles Oliveira at UFC 294 on October 21, 2023, in Abu Dhabi. Interestingly, many in the MMA community were taken aback when the UFC didn't wait for the outcome of the Gaethje vs. Poirier fight in Salt Lake City before confirming "Do Bronx" Oliveira as Makhachev's next challenger for the 155-pound championship.
The decision to lock in the Oliveira vs. Makhachev bout ahead of the Gaethje vs. Poirier rematch might be attributed to the fact that neither Dustin Poirier nor Justin Gaethje were willing to commit to a 13-week turnaround in preparation for a fight in the United Arab Emirates.
During a recent interview with SHAK MMA, Justin Gaethje made his stance on the matter unequivocally clear, expressing that he was not willing to undertake such a rapid turnaround to challenge for the lightweight title against Makhachev.
“It’s UFC title or bust. Poirier] is No. 2 and I’m No. 3. If Volkanovski fights in October then I’d be a fool to want to fight any other fight. I can’t really see a scenario where I’d want to fight and defend this [BMF] belt before I get my chance at the world title. I know for a fact he’s not Khabib. And I want to go in there and prove that,” Gaethje said.
What do you think of the statement from Gaethje? Let us know in the comments below.