A lightweight clash between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler has finally been verbally agreed to for UFC 268 on November 6th.
Chandler had recently vented his frustration at Gaethje, claiming that he’d refused to fight him on multiple occasions since he joined from Bellator last year, although ‘The Highlight’ fired back by claiming he’d been in training to go up against him at UFC 262 before Chandler was switched to fighting for the vacant title instead against Charles Oliveira.
Now it looks like they are ready to settle the bad blood between them, and it comes at a time when both fighters are also looking to get back in the win column after unsuccessful attempts to seize the 155lb title.
For Gaethje that came last year against Khabib Nurmagomedov on Fight Island, but it proved to be an uncharacteristically sub-par performance from him that night as the dominant champion got the better of him on the feet before finishing him on the mat via a second round triangle choke submission.
That ended an impressive four-fight winning run to the title that had seen Gaethje in destructive form as he KO’d both James Vick and Edson Barbosa, followed by TKO victories against Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson.
Meanwhile, Chandler fought Oliveira for the belt vacated by Khabib back in May, but despite a strong start he was ultimately TKO’d by ‘Do Bronx’ early in the second round.
Before that Chandler had been on a three-fight unbeaten stretch that started in Bellator with KO wins over Sidney Outlaw and then Ben Henderson, before TKO’ing Dan Hooker in the opening round of his UFC debut.
Gaethje vs. Chandler would join a UFC 268 card that’s set to be headlined by a welterweight title rematch showdown between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington.