Gaethje Prefers November Bout Over June Turnaround for Makhachev Clash

Justin Gaethje, UFC 300, Islam Makhachev

In a recent development ahead of UFC 300, Justin Gaethje has expressed hesitation about the prospect of facing Islam Makhachev just seven weeks after his bout with Max Holloway. The much-anticipated clash between Gaethje and Holloway at T-Mobile Arena has stirred some controversy within the MMA community, particularly regarding its impact on the lightweight title picture.

Despite criticism from reigning lightweight champion Makhachev and former champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, who believed Gaethje should have been the next contender, Gaethje remains focused on his upcoming bout. With Charles Oliveira and Arman Tsarukyan scheduled to face off at UFC 300, Makhachev has voiced doubts about finding a suitable opponent for his desired June 1 bout in Newark, N.J., prompting him to call out Dustin Poirier.

Gaethje has expressed his annoyance at the possibility of Poirier securing the fight with Makhachev, a sentiment shared by many. However, Gaethje himself doesn’t envision fighting in June and prefers a later timeline for his title shot, ideally toward the end of the year.

“Ideally, the winner of the Oliveira-Tsarukyan fight faces Makhachev in June, and then I take on the winner in November, preferably at Madison Square Garden,” Gaethje stated. “That timeline allows for adequate rest, recovery, and preparation for the fight. It’s the perfect scenario for me.”

Acknowledging the support for his contention against Makhachev, Gaethje emphasized that his focus remains on his upcoming bout with Holloway. He believes that a victory in this fight will solidify his position as the next contender for the UFC lightweight title.

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“As much as I appreciate the support from those who believe I should be facing Makhachev next, it’s too late to change course now,” Gaethje added. “I’ve trained mentally and physically for this fight with Holloway, and I’m confident that a win here will pave the way for my shot at the lightweight title.”

Gaethje reflected on his previous victories, including his knockout win against Rafael Fiziev, highlighting that he’s cleared out the division’s top contenders. Despite the twists and turns in the matchmaking process, Gaethje remains determined to seize the opportunities that come his way in the competitive landscape of MMA.

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