Former lightweight title challenger Justin Gaethje has finally recovered from nose surgery and has signalled his interest in fighting either Charles Oliveira or Rafael Fiziev next.
“They both make just as much sense to me right now,” said at a recent UFC media day. “I need two wins, doesn’t matter who. They’re gonna be big fights. I don’t wanna fight just anybody, obviously. But, yeah. Both of those guys are possible fights for my next fight. But, again, my job is to stay out of my emotions. If I think about those fights, I get emotional because that’s who we are as humans. I have to put that responsibility on the people that I trust, which is my coach, my manager, and they’re gonna pick the best fight for me, whoever that is.”
Gaethje only just fought Oliveira back in May for the lightweight title, and it was an all-out war for as long as it lasted as he dropped the champion twice in the opening few minutes, but was also rocked a couple of times himself before being floored by a clean straight right and then submitted.
With Oliveira having since lost to Islam Makhachav, the No.3 ranked Gaethje is eager to run that fight back, though he’s also willing to entertain the idea of fighting the No.6 placed Fiziev too, who is a fellow striker on a six fight winning streak and has called him out several times in the past.
Whoever he ends up fighting, Gaethje hopes his return fight will be in March, by which time he feels he’ll have given himself enough time to recover from that damaging first encounter with Oliveira, along with other recent wars against the likes of Michael Chandler, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony ferguson.
“I had a huge fight last fight, I got hit really hard, and one thing we have over other sports is the ability to take some time off. Every fight with the UFC has been absolutely huge, but my last three or four fights have been the biggest fights you can be in, so we just got to take time.”