Justin Gaethje Reveals Two Fighters Who ‘Make Sense’ for UFC Return

UFC, Justin Gaethje

Getty Justin Gaethje reacts after losing by submission to Charles Oliveira.

UFC superstar Justin Gaethje has revealed two names that ‘make sense’ for his return to action.

Fan favorite Gaethje has been on the sidelines since his last outing against lightweight top contender and former champion Charles Oliveira in May at UFC 274. Oliveira came out firing from the get-go and handily dispatched Gaethje in the opening round with a rear-naked choke submission. It marked Gaethje’s second unsuccessful title shot, the first being versus former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in Oct. 2020.

Following the defeat, Gaethje chose to take some time off and underwent surgery to fix his nose. Top-ranked lightweight contender Rafael Fiziev called the human ‘Highlight’ out for a contest after needing nose surgery himself.

Gaethje Says a Fight With Oliveira or Fiziev Makes Sense

During UFC 281’s media day, Gaethje got asked about potentially rematching Oliveira or facing Fiziev in his next fight.

“(Oliveira and Fiziev) both make just as much sense to me right now. I need two wins, it doesn’t matter who,” said Gaethje. “They are going to be big fights. I don’t want to fight just anybody obviously. But yeah, both of those guys are possible fights for my next fight. Again, my job is to stay out of my emotions. If I think about those fights, I get emotional because that’s who we are as humans.

“I have to put that responsibility on the people that I trust, which is my coach and my manager. They are going to pick the best fight for me whoever that is.”

Gaethje Would Like To Return on the Same Card As Kamaru Usman

Former UFC welterweight champion and pound-for-pound king Kamaru Usman is coming off a brutal head-kick knockout loss to the reigning 170-pound champion Leon Edwards, which he suffered in August at UFC 278. He appeared to be on his way to another dominant victory when Edwards connected with the finishing strike in the final minute of the bout.

Usman, a teammate of Gaethje at renowned MMA coach Trevor Wittman’s ONX Sports, is expected to face Edwards in an immediate trilogy fight next. There have been talks of a stadium show possibly held in the UK, but no announcements have come yet.

When asked about a possible date for his return, Gaethje expressed a desire to compete on the same card as his teammate.

“Right now, it’s trying to figure out when I want to fight again. I really want to be on the card that Kamaru’s on. It sounds like it’s going to be in March. I don’t know if it’s going to be in London. I had a huge fight last fight. I got hit really hard. One thing we have over other sports is the ability to take some time off. My last every fight with the UFC has been absolutely huge. My last three or four fights have been the biggest fights you could be in.

“Just gotta take time,” he added. “I got my nose fixed. When you get a concussion, then you should take some time off and that’s what I’ve been doing… I’m definitely missing the fast part now. I’m back to sparring, back to just having fun.”

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