Justin Gaethje has not fought since UFC 254 in October when he was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title.
After the loss, Gaethje said he wanted to make a quick turnaround, but that hasn’t come to fruition. It has now been six months since the fight and he hasn’t been booked either. But, according to his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, Gaethje is holding out for the right fight.
“I don’t think it’s business (issues) right now,” Abdelaziz said to MMAJunkie. “I think I just have to get the right fight. I see a lot of people calling him out. You can’t just be away from the lightweight division for six years and come back and try to fight the No. 2 guy. You have to earn it.”
Although Abdelaziz believes Gaethje is the best lightweight alive, he does understand why his client wasn’t booked in the vacant title fight.
“Listen, Justin was supposed to fight Michael Chandler,” Abdelaziz said. “That was the talk. We found out Chandler (was) fighting Oliveira, and I get it. The UFC wants a champion who never lost to Khabib (Nurmagomedov). If a guy who lost to Khabib becomes the champion … you need more time to make people forget about Khabib, right? They made the move, and I get it.”
Then, with Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier booked, Gaethje is left without a dance partner. However, Abdelaziz believes McGregor never wanted to fight Gaethje.
Even without a fight, Abdelaziz is confident it is only a matter of time Justin Gaethje is the lightweight champ.
“It was never 100 percent he was fighting Mike Chandler, but it was mentioned,” Abdelaziz said. “It was mentioned (Conor) McGregor, too. I know Conor would never fight Justin because I think Justin stylistically is the worst matchup. I truly believe Justin Gaethje will be the UFC champion.”