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Justin Gaethje: I’ll offer Islam Makhachev the first title shot when I become champ

Justin Gaethje is determined to become the next UFC lightweight champion.

UFC Fight Night: Weigh-Ins
Justin Gaethje is interviewed at the UFC Fight Night 158 weigh-in prior to his lightweight bout against Donald Cerrone at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Justin Gaethje says Islam Makhachev will have to wait for a title shot because ‘The Highlight’ believes he is next in line to fight the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier for the lightweight belt.

When — or rather if — Gaethje beats the winner of Oliveira-Poirier, though, he is willing to give No. 4-ranked Makhachev the first crack at the title.

“I’ll let him go first if he gets his spot,” Gaethje, who beat Chandler in a FOTN at UFC 268, said of Makhachev during a recent interview with MMA Fighting. “I’ll beat one of these guys [Charles Oliveira or Dustin Poirier] and then I’ll allow him to go first. F*ck yeah, I’m looking forward to that.”

Gaethje also warned Makhachev that if he expects an easy fight, he’s in for a rude awakening.

“War is coming,” Gaethje said. “He has to know one thing, f*cking war is coming. So bring it.”

Gaethje, 33, is currently #2 in the UFC lightweight rankings and is considered by many to be one of the most exciting fighters in the division if not the entire promotion.

Makhachev, on the other hand, has rattled off nine straight wins and is thought to be the future of the lightweight division. The Dagestani most recently fought at UFC 267 where he defeated Dan Hooker via first-round submission.