Justin Gaethje Told to Make UFC Return Against Deadly Striker

Justin Gaethje

Getty Justin Gaethje

Top-ranked UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje was once again challenged by Rafael Fiziev.

Fiziev is ranked No. 7 in the 155-pound division and is riding the momentum of a six-fight win streak which includes his most recent win: a fifth-round KO victory against ex-lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.

After he took out the former champ last month, “Ataman” called out Gaethje during the post-fight press conference. And in a recent interview with Fanatics View, Fiziev took aim at the two-time title challenger and ex-interim belt holder again.

“Bro, I don’t why he (Gaethje) don’t ask for me,” Fiziev said via MMA News. “(There is) nobody who can fight with him now. Everyone is busy. Everyone busy. Why he don’t want to fight with me?” Fiziev said. “He fought with everybody in the top 5… Fight with me bro. Hey Justin, if you see this, fight with me bro. I’m your money now.”

Gaethje & Fiziev Are Both Action Fighters Known for Finding a Knockout

Gaethje last fought in May at UFC 274 when he battled Charles Oliveira for gold. However, “The Highlight” was defeated by Oliveira via first-round rear-naked choke.

Both Gaethje and Fiziev are sidelined while they recover from nose surgery, and as Ataman mentioned, most of the division’s elite are scheduled or linked to upcoming bouts.

A fight between the two exciting combatants has the recipe for an all-time classic affair. They’re both known for scoring electric knockouts, with Gaethje earning 19 of his 23 victories via KO/TKO and Ataman notching nine wins by KO/TKO in 12 victories.

Gaethje Plans to Make 1 More Run at Title After He Recovers From Nose Surgery

Gaethje has competed twice to become an undisputed UFC champion, but he fell short both times. And when he spoke with the media in late June at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony in Las Vegas, Gaethje expressed his desire to “give it one last run towards the title.”

But first, The Highlight said he needed to take care of a longtime nose injury.

“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,” continued Gaethje. “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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