Justin Gaethje reveals he thought he was fighting Michael Chandler on May 15

Justin Gaethje thought it would be he, not Charles Oliveira, facing Michael Chandler for gold at UFC 262

Unfortunately for Justin Gaethje, it seems like he may be the odd man out in the UFC lightweight title picture following the recent developments regarding the fate of the belt’s future.

After UFC President Dana White had put his mission on preventing Khabib Nurmagomedov from retiring to a halt and accepted the retirement of the then-champion, it was announced that Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira would do battle at UFC 262 on May 15 to determine the next champion.

Is Justin Gaethje truly on the outside looking in of the UFC lightweight title hunt?

The news had many in the MMA community assuming that in addition to Chandler vs. Oliveira for the belt, this also hinted that a trilogy encounter between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor is surely in the works — and the winner may possibly be in line for the Chandler-Oliveira winner.

But it also leaves thoughts on where it leaves others in the division, especially Gaethje. In fact, in a Twitter post some 22 hours following the announcements, Gaethje stated he had woke up the day before expecting to be facing Chandler at UFC 262 for the belt.

In fact, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani had reported earlier in the week that Chandler vs. Gaethje was being planned for some time in the future.

Gaethje finished Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 last year to claim the interim UFC lightweight championship, before challenging Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title at UFC 254 and losing by submission. It was after the fight with Gaethje where Nurmagomedov announced his retirement.

After Chandler knocked out Dan Hooker in his debut at UFC 257, where also Poirier defeated McGregor in their main event rematch, Poirier claimed he would have rather faced Oliveira for the belt or a third fight with McGregor, having no interest in facing either Gaethje or Chandler.

There is at least one fighter interested in facing Gaethje, however. Former champion Rafael dos Anjos responded to Gaethje’s tweet, telling him to wait for him.

RDA made his lightweight return in November with a win over Paul Felder. He was expected to face Islam Makhachev until Makhachev tested positive for COVID-19. With Makhachev scoring his own recent win over Drew Dober though, there’s a chance RDA vs. Makhachev may be re-booked.

UFC 262 takes place on May 15 at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX. It will be the second UFC pay-per-view event with no live audience restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic.

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Published at Sat, 20 Mar 2021 02:59:09 +0000

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