With all this turn of events going on in the lightweight division, it has again become very chaotic. Khabib officially announcing retirement was followed by Michael Chandler vs Charles Oliveira getting booked for the vacant 155lb title. However, this attempt at breaking the deadlock has put some top-notch fighters on stand-by, most notably Justin Gaethje.
Dustin Poirier was also highly touted to compete for the vacant belt, however, with the Conor McGregor trilogy right around the corner, it looks like the winner of that fight will fight for the championship belt next.
So now what’s next for Justin Gaethje in this division?
Gaethje facing a top-five next makes the most sense right now
The way he came in as an underdog and secured a TKO win over Tony Ferguson shows his potential. This fight not only made him the interim lightweight champion but also the next to challenge for the 155lb gold. Though he lost to The Eagle via submission, there’s no denying the fact that he still is in the title picture.
However, he certainly won’t be getting another chance to claim his stake at the newly vacated belt anytime soon. As a #2 lightweight in the UFC, to be the next in line for the shot, he needs to secure at least a victory over one of the top five lightweights.
Currently, Dustin Poirier is coming off a stunning win over Conor McGregor. And the next thing he’ll be fighting for is most likely the belt. Hence, he will be fighting whoever wins the vacant belt. So, it is highly unlikely that Poirier and Gaethje will be facing each other for a rematch.
So, in this case, fighting the loser of the title fight makes the most sensible decision for him to make.
Another alternative making sense is again going toe-to-toe against Tony Ferguson. Though El Cucuy has dropped down in the rankings recently, he’s still a worthy contender. However, Ferguson is going to fight Beneil Dariush. If he loses this fight also, he will slip further down the ranks rendering his rematch with Gaethje worthless.
Any other alternative for Justin Gaethje?
There’s one more alternative. UFC might also like this one since this could be a big money fight as well. Recent times have seen both Gaethje and McGregor taking brutal jabs at each other. This disliking between them can be materialized into a great fight.
Even though Conor McGregor is out of the top five and has tasted the first TKO loss of his career, his appearance in the octagon can be a big money-maker for the UFC. This move will be good for everyone. If The Highlight wins, he will be on the radar for the upcoming title shot. If Notorious wins, he will again come back to the top five clubs.
The one having the biggest profit regardless of the result will be UFC. This is because the McGregor card is always the best-selling card.
So what do you think? Which fight makes the most sense for Justin Gaethje right now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.