From the moment that the UFC booked Michael Chandler to face Justin Gaethje, it was clear that violence was on the menu. Gaethje has built a career-long reputation as one of MMA’s most unforgiving matchups with an arsenal of power punches, kicks, and a willingness to absorb huge amounts of damage to land his own shots.
For Chandler, the former multiple-time Bellator champion gained his own action-forward reputation off the back of legendary wars with Eddie Alvarez and a bevy of quick finishes over a 12-year-long MMA career. Putting them in the cage together was a guarantee that fans would get to witness something special.
And that was the result, with Chandler vs. Gaethje winning ‘Fight of the Year’ honors from multiple publications. But, not everyone seems to have thought that the bout was quite as thrilling as it’s been made out to be. Most notably (and surprisingly) Justin Gaethje himself recently revealed that during the bout he was actually a bit... bored???
“To be completely honest with you, I felt like that was kind of a boring fight when I was in there,” Gaethje admitted in a recent interview with BT Sport (transcript via BJPenn.com). “Yeah, it just makes no sense. It’s the first time I’ve ever wanted to win more than to knock somebody out. So, yeah, it was not good, I didn’t like it. I wanna go back to just wanting to hurt somebody and finish them – but now that I’ve won, got my title shot, I can go back to how it should be.”
The win may not have blown Gaethje’s socks off, but it did get him something else to get excited about—namely a title shot against Charles Oliveira. The bout hasn’t officially been announced for the Trevor Wittman-trained fighter, but Dana White admitted the pairing “makes sense” after Oliveira’s recent title defense against Dustin Poirier.
“I’m expecting a call any day,” Gaethje told BT Sport, revealing that the fight would likely be targeted for the UFC 274 PPV in Brazil.
“I want to go down to Brazil, I want to fight in the chaos,” he added. “If you go back and listen to my early interviews, I said I want to go into enemy territory, like Brazil, and fight in that chaos. Them screaming I’m gonna die, 20,000 people—I’m 100% confident that when I’m done they’ll love me.”