Justin Gaethje’s ‘BMF’ title win on Saturday night at UFC 291 may have big implications for featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski’s aspirations to get a rematch with lightweight champ Islam Makhachev according to UFC commentator Jon Anik.
“Initially I was thinking, Alexander Volkanovski, this result with Justin Gaethje is maybe not a great result for him in terms of the pecking order for his rematch with Islam Makhachev,” Anik told MMA Junkie. “I think if I’m Ilia Topuria, the result with Justin Gaethje is perfect because I’m probably going to get Alexander Volkanovski next. That’s not informed speculation, it’s total speculation – but I think that’s the direction in which they will go.”
Of course Makhachev has to rematch Charles Oliveira at UFC 294 in October first, and the result of that too could potentially put a further spanner in the works for Volkanovski, but in the end Anik feels that it’s Gaethje who will remain next in line for the title shot.
“If Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira are 1-1 that would open the door for a trilogy, but I think Justin Gaethje is the guy who people believe is the most watchable, the most exciting. I’m not sure how that plays itself out at the pay-per-view window or in terms of the internal metric, but I would think as a promoter, you’d try to get Justin Gaethje in an undisputed title fight because of just how incredible he is. The fanbase really seems to resonate with him. He seems to move every needle. I would think they would be trying to rush Justin Gaethje into a title fight.”