If Michael Chandler wants a rematch with Charles Oliveira, he’s going to have to get past a top-five ranked opponent.
And who better an opponent than former WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje, who is desperate to get back in the win column following his submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254.
UFC president Dana White strongly hinted that Gaethje will be Chandler’s next opponent but, don’t get too excited, as the fight has yet to be finalized.
“There’s a few opportunities,” White told TMZ Sports when asked about Chandler’s next fight (h/t Clyde Aidoo of MMA News). “He could fight Gaethje. We’ll see. We don’t have anything done yet, but that makes sense, and that’d be a fun fight. Imagine Chandler vs. Gaethje.”
Chandler came up short in his lightweight title bout with Oliveira at UFC 262, losing via second-round TKO, but the former Bellator lightweight king believes he is destined to become champion by the end of the year. Prior to his loss to ‘Do Bronx’, Chandler was on a three-fight KO streak against Sidney Outlaw, Benson Henderson, and Dan Hooker.
As for Gaethje, the No. 2-ranked lightweight has been on the sidelines since October 2020 and appears to be waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.
Well, this is that opportunity.
A win over Chandler puts ‘The Highlight’ right back into title contention and sets him for a potential showdown with Oliveira. If he doesn’t want to fight Oliveira, Gaethje could opt to fight the winner of Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor instead. Poirier-McGregor III will headline the upcoming UFC 264 PPV on July 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.