Justin Gaethje is eyeing a return to the Octagon next year after an unsuccessful attempt to win the lightweight title against Charles Oliveira back in May, and he has targeted a rematch with Dustin Poirier as the ideal fight to mark the occasion.
“There’s pretty big fights going on,” Gaethje told MMA Mania. “The championship, Beneil (Dariush) and (Mateusz) Gamrot, you’ve got Chandler and Poirier. Someone’s got to fight the winners and losers of all these fights. I don’t think I should fight the winner of the title fight, but I can fight the winner of any other of those fighters. I don’t want to fight Beneil.
“Ideally, Poirier beats Chandler. I’d like to fight Poirier. I mean, he beat me. That’s one win I’d like to get back. It was Fight of the Year, Fight of the Decade – Fight of a Couple Years, probably. That was a hell of a fight. So yeah, that’s ideal.”
Gaethje fought Poirier back in 2018, suffering a TKO loss early in the fourth round of the fight. At the time that was Gaethje’s second loss in a row, having also been KO’d for the first time and only time in his career by Eddie Alvarez beforehand to end his 18 fight winning streak.
However, Gaethje did then go on to win four fights in a row, before his two title fight losses against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira, sandwiched inbetween a decision win against Michael Chandler.
Chandler will be first up to fight Poirier in November at UFC 281, but if he wins then Gaethje wants the next shot at him.
“I’d like to get that win back. He’s ranked No. 1 or No. 2. I need two to three wins to get back to the title shot, so that would be ideal. I told them I’d be ready next year, so we’ll see how it goes.”