Gaethje solidified himself as the top contender after his battle with Michael Chandler at UFC 268 in November 2021. It was an all-out brawl between the combatants for three rounds and in the end, “The Highlight” got his hand raised via unanimous decision.
Gaethje vs. Chandler was an instant classic and was the “Fight of the Year” for many fans and outlets.
“Yup (he’s next),” White said via MMA Fighting. “As long as everybody’s healthy and everything’s good, it should be him. Coming off one of the greatest fights anybody’s ever seen in their life. I literally predicted the whole week that that would be the Fight of the Night and it ended up being the Fight of a Lifetime and one of the greatest fights anybody has ever seen.”
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Gaethje Wants to Fight on May 7 at UFC 274 Against Oliveira
While speaking with BT Sport’s Caroline Pearce during UFC 270 on January 22, 2022, Gaethje was asked for an update on the potential title shot. Although nothing is official, The Highlight said he is expecting a call from the UFC soon about fighting Oliveira, and he’s eyeing potentially fighting on May 7, 2022, during UFC 274.
According to report from Combate, the promotion is planning on hosting the event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And Gaethje is more than prepared to fight in “enemy territory.”
“Nothing’s been signed, nothing’s been promised other than what you’ve heard and what I’ve heard,” Gaethje said. “They’re a big business and there’s a lot of fights that are going to happen between now and then. So, they’re still working their way down to Brazil. I just saw today they announced Glover [Teixeira] and Jiri [Prochazka], so that tells me they’re working on this fight card (UFC 274).
“So, I’m expecting a phone call any day. I want to go down to Brazil. I want to fight in the chaos.”
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Oliveira Defended His Title for the First Time By Defeating Dustin Poirier
Oliveira’s undisputed lightweight championship was on the line around a month after Gaethje’s win over Chandler. “Do Bronx” took on Dustin Poirier during the main event of UFC 269 on December 11, 2021.
It was a rough first round for the champion as he was rocked multiple times. However, he was able to utilize his grappling in the second round to control “The Diamond.” And in the third, he submitted the fan favorite with a rear-naked choke.
It was the Brazilian’s first title defense and he extended his win streak to 10 fights in a row.