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‘He’s a big challenge for me’ - Rafael Fiziev calls out Justin Gaethje after UFC Vegas 58 win

If this fight were to happen it would be guaranteed excitement.

UFC lightweight contender Rafael Fiziev.
UFC lightweight contender Rafael Fiziev.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Rafael Fiziev’s fifth-round TKO of former champion Rafael dos Anjos firmly established him as a major contender in the UFC’s lightweight division. As Fiziev creeps closer into the top-five of the rankings, the heavy-handed striker has another big name in mind for his next fight.

I mean, besides tennis legend Rafael Nadal.

In the post-fight press conference, the 29-year-old had his sights set on former WSOF champion and one-time UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje.

“I want a fight with Gaethje, like for real,” Fiziev said (via MMA Fighting). “Nadal is funny ... but Gaethje, if he wants to fight –what camera do I need to [look at]? yeah, this one. ...”

“I think he makes my face the same like this, maybe more hard,” Fiziev said while looking at the camera. “He’s dangerous. He’s a big challenge for me. He has a lot of chance to knock me out, and I have a lot of chance to knock him out. But yeah, that’s a good fight, for fans also.

“He have s—t kicks, but he has good power in his hands.”

Gaethje (23-4) is coming off a title fight loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC 274. Despite dropping Oliveira twice early in the contest, Oliveira responded by flooring Gaethje and submitting him with a rear-naked choke. It was Gaethje’s second attempt at becoming the undisputed lightweight champion and in both instances he lost by tapout. Outside of those fights, Gaethje has beaten the likes of Michael Chandler, Tony Ferguson, Edson Barboza, and Michael Johnson over his UFC career.

The latest rankings have Gaethje at #3, whereas Fiziev should be somewhere at or near #7 after his win over dos Anjos when the newest update comes out. If this fight does get made, it would be appointment viewing for fans.