Justin Gaethje Makes His Case for a Title Shot Over Islam Makhachev

Published 11/13/2021, 9:35 AM EST
DALLAS, TX – MAY 12: Justin Gaethje speaks to the media during the UFC Summer Kickoff Press Conference at the American Airlines Center on May 12, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Justin Gaethje is without a doubt, one of the most entertaining fighters to ever be a part of the UFC. The former interim champion currently stands second in the UFC lightweight contender rankings. His record stands at 23 wins and 3 losses as of November 2021. Many believe that ‘The Highlight’ is next in line to have a shot at the lightweight title.

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Gaethje recently fought Michael Chandler at UFC 268 in what was considered to be the number one contender fight. Gaethje put up an absolute delight of a fight for the fans and won the fight following a win via a unanimous decision. 

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‘The Highlight’ recently appeared in an interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto. In the interview, they discussed Justin Gaethje’s legendary fight against Michael Chandler at UFC 268. It was a very dominant win for Gaethje, and he ended up absorbing way less damage than his opponent did.

Brett Okamoto asked Gaethje in their interview whether he believes he has a championship shot following UFC 268. “There’s never a guarantee in this sport,” he said, “but you’re kind of guaranteed it at this point right?”

To that Gaethje replied saying, “Yeah, I think the travesty to the integrity of the sport would be too great if I didn’t get it (a title shot) now. You know before they could have done it, but now..”I would hope some journalists would make people answer some really hard serious questions if I didn’t get the case, if I didn’t get the shot.”

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Even while most would agree that Gaethje deserves a crack at the championship, there are a few people in the UFC who think otherwise. One of these people is no other than Islam Makhachev’s coach, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Justin Gaethje is unworthy of a title shot

The UFC legend, Khabib Nurmagomedov, recently took to Instagram to share his views on Justin Gaethje being next for the UFC lightweight championship title. He believes that his longtime friend and teammate Islam Makhachev is more deserving of the title shot compared to Gaethje. ESPN MMA posted a clip from Gaethje’s interview with Brett Okamoto and Khabib commented his thought on the post.

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Even though Khabib feels that his teammate Islam Makhachev is more deserving of the title shot, it is very unlikely that the UFC will give him one. Islam is currently ranked fourth in the UFC lightweight rankings, whereas Gaethje stands second. Above Gaethje stands Dustin Poirier, who will face Charles Oliveira for the belt at UFC 269. So naturally, Gaethje is next in line.

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Pranit Punjabi

187 articles

Pranit Punjabi is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. A third-year psychology major, this Khabib Nurmagomedov fan merged his interest in psychology with his deep passion for MMA and was intrigued by this new angle to help him get closer to the action. Pranit aims to look through the violence and chaos, into what makes MMA truly beautiful, the deep and rich psychological aspect of the game.

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