Michael Chandler has high praise for his former opponent, Justin Gaethje.
At UFC 268, Chandler and Gaethje had one of the best fights of all time as the two threw down for three rounds and in the end, it was “The Highlight” winning the fight. With the fight being one of the best ever, and Gaethje winning, he has said he wants the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier for the belt, and if that happens, Chandler is confident Gaethje will win.
“I think Justin Gaethje is the clear-cut No. 1 contender,” Chandler said on The MMA Hour. “He just beat me. [Islam] Makhachev, obviously the way he dispatched Dan Hooker was absolutely phenomenal. What he did was great. Does it warrant a title shot? Not compared to what Justin Gaethje has done, that’s my thought.”
“I think Justin Gaethje breaks Charles Oliveira,” Chandler added. “But the more likely scenario is Poirier wins that fight because I think he has more tools and he’s just better in certain areas and he’s not going to get submitted by Oliveira, even though we have seen an increased striking level by Oliveira, as we saw in our fight. But I think Justin Gaethje cleans up a couple of things, remembers how he lost to Dustin Poirier a couple of years ago, and I think he wins the title, middle of next year.”
Chandler thinks Gaethje has a path to the belt
Justin Gaethjer certainly has paths to victory against both Oliveira and Poirier due to his leg kicks and KO power. However, he has already fought and lost to Poirier, but that was years ago and Gaethje has looked like he has improved and has better cardio to go five rounds.
Yet, even though Michael Chandler believes Gaethje will be the UFC lightweight, it’s still uncertain he will get the next title shot. Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush both are in the running for a title shot, but Chandler thinks there is no question Gaethje deserves the title fight.