Justin Gaethje Challenged by UFC Contender After Show-Stopping KO

Justin Gaethje

Getty Justin Gaethje

Rising UFC contender Rafael Fiziev wants Justin Gaethje next after finishing former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos on Saturday night.

Fiziev, who is ranked No. 10 as per the official UFC rankings, took on dos Anjos during UFC on ESPN 39. And after the contest made it into the fifth round, Fiziev caught the No. 7-ranked 155-pound fighter, earning a KO victory.

With the biggest moment of his career, “Ataman” improved his professional mixed martial arts record to 12-1 as well as extended his win streak to six.

During the post-fight press conference, Fiziev called out Gaethje, who currently sits at No. 3 in the division.

“Yeah, you know I want to fight with Gaethje,” Ataman said via MMA Junkie. “… Gaethje, if you want to fight, one more yellow guy with yellow hairs (Charles Oliveira), we need to know who’s best.

“That’s a good match for you and me. If you’re ready, and you’re not scared, don’t talk s*** and let’s go.”

Gaethje last fought in May when he attempted for the second time to win the UFC lightweight championship. He took on Charles Oliveira and lost the UFC 274 headliner via first-round rear-naked choke.

Fiziev Is Ready to Take Punishment From Gaethje

While speaking with the media, a dinged-up Fiziev said he could suffer more damage if he draws Gaethje next, but he’s up for the challenge.

“I think he would maybe make my face like this, maybe more hard,” Fiziev said. “He’s dangerous also and a big challenge for me. I think he has a lot of chance to knock me out, and I have a lot of chance to knock him out. That’s a good fight, I think, for fans also.”

After losing his UFC debut in 2019, Fizev has gone on to defeat six consecutive opponents inside the Octagon, including Bobby Green, Renato Moicano and Brad Riddell.

Gaethje Planning Nose Surgery for July 14

Gaethje said during the UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on June 30 that he’ll receive long-awaited nose surgery on July 14th, sidelining him for around a month. And when he’s ready to fight, “The Highlight” is eyeing a third run at UFC gold.

“I’m going to get nose surgery July 14,” Gaethje said via Bloody Elbow. “Take a good month to recover and get back to work. I think end of the year, most likely early next year. There’s a few fights that are going to happen, so I’ll let those happen. I want to clear two [or] three fight path back to the title fight. I want to earn it, like I should, but I have a great manager, so I’m not worried about it too much. I’ll be ready to fight.

“I’ve been waiting for 13 years for someone in MMA to break my nose and it hasn’t happened. I broke it in wrestling practice 13 years ago, and life’s been hell since then. I have to wear a nose drip to bed every single night. Eating, sleeping, living, training, fighting. I’m not sure. I don’t even know what my f****** voice sounds like. I’ve been waiting for a long time to get this broken. No one has done it, so I’m going to do it myself and give it one last run towards the title.”

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