After Gaethje was unable to unify the 155-pound belt against Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2020 at UFC 254, the 29-0 great retired from mixed martial arts. His belt then became vacant and in May 2021, and Oliveira and former Bellator welterweight champion Michael Chandler competed for it.
Although Du Bronx had a tough first round which saw him getting rocked and nearly finished by “Iron’s” hands, the Brazilian bounced back in the second frame and finished the American by TKO, earning 155-pound gold.
For Oliveira’s first title defense, he’ll likely take on No. 1-ranked contender Dustin Poirier at UFC 259 on December 11, according to a report from MMA Fighting. Oliveira will enter the Octagon riding a nine-fight win streak, which includes eight finishes over the likes of Kevin Lee, Jim Miller and Nik Lentz. He also dominated former ex-interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, defeating him via a lopsided unanimous decision.
Poirier is on a streak of his own, winning his last three fights, including defeating Irish superstar Conor McGregor twice in two high-profile events this year.
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Gaethje Says Oliveira Is a ‘Quitter,’ Would ‘Love’ to Fight the Brazilian
Gaethje was recently featured on the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast, hosted by former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and comedian Jim Norton. During the show, “The Highlight” said he was in a prime position to receive a title fight should he defeat Chandler at UFC 268 on November 6, 2021.
And if he does, he’d “love” to fight Oliveira for the title as he views the Brazilian as a “quitter.” But if he had to pick, he thinks his former opponent Poirier will get the job done.
“I’m in a great position, I don’t have to win eight in a row,” Justin Gaethje said via Low Kick MMA. “I’ve got to win one in a row. So if he wins (against Dustin Poirier), I would love to fight Charles Oliveira, because I will show you what I’m saying. He’s a quitter. He is a quitter. He showed it to you in the Michael Chandler fight.“
“At the end of the first round, he was not looking good, he didn’t want to be there,” Gaethje continued. “That’s just what I think, that’s my opinion. And (Dustin) Poirier is going to beat him up.“
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Gaethje & Chandler Square Off During the Madison Square Garden Main Card
During the main card of UFC 268, The Highlight and Iron will meet in the middle of the Octagon. Both known for their forward pressure and lights-out power, it is all but guaranteed that the two will put on a show for the crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
With Gaethje ranked at No. 2 and Chandler at No. 4, the winner will put themselves in a position to either receive a title fight next or at very least, a top-contender matchup.