The exchange came after Gaethje conducted an interview with ESPN. During it, he told Megan Olivi that UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira will have to “walk through hell” like Khabib Nurmagomediv did when they meet inside the Octagon at the Footprint Center in Pheonix, Arizona.
“On May 7, at 9:30 Mountain Time, I’m gonna be perfect and I’ll be perfect for 25 minutes,” Gaethje said via Middle Easy. “If he can beat me, then kudos to him. But he’s gonna have to walk through hell like Khabib [Nurmagomedov] did. He’s not as powerful, he doesn’t have the structure, he doesn’t have the frame, and he doesn’t have explosive takedowns.
“He’s going to have find me making a mistake, overreaching, and try to get into a grappling situation. Outside that, he better be praying every day that he gets me to the ground. If not, it’s going to be the same night as [Michael] Chandler, except five rounds. If I went five rounds with Chandler, he would have died and that’s the truth. So, I’m glad we didn’t go five rounds.”
Diaz Fired a Shot at Gaethje, Gaethje Responded
Well, Diaz is seemingly unimpressed by Gaethje’s words. Writing via an Instagram Story, Diaz took a jab at Gaethje’s submission loss to the former UFC lightweight king, Nurmagomedov, in 2020. “The Highlight” was choked unconscious courtesy of Nurmagomedov’s triangle choke at UFC 254, something “The Eagle” secured while in mount.
“Bruh got triangle choked from the mount,” Diaz wrote. “What he talkin about (face-palm emoji).”
Gaethje took notice of Diaz’s comment, and he then hit back: “I ain’t your bruh you jealous b**** @NateDiaz209.”
An MMA fan responded to The Highlight’s tweet, writing: “But dude you didn’t make khabib walk through hell like you said that was nate meaning.”
“Ok chief,” Gaethje answered.
UFC 274 Is Gaethje’s Second Shot at Undisputed Lightweight Gold
Gaethje has had a UFC belt wrapped around his waist, however it was in the form of an interim title. He won the interim 155-pound championship in May 2020 when he fought Tony Ferguson during UFC 249. It was arguably Highlight’s best performance in the Octagon, shattering “El Cucuy’s” 12-fight win streak via fifth-round TKO.
The win was Gaethje’s fourth in a row and by winning the fight, he guaranteed himself as Nurmagomedov’s next opponent. They fought to unify the belt a few months later, however Gaethje was defeated by the lightweight great.
He’s fought once since then. Gaethje and former Bellator MMA 155-pound king Michael Chandler paired up for UFC 268 in November, and The Highlight edged the scorecards in what was a fight-of-the-year candidate.
Gaethje, who held the World Series of Fighting lightweight belt and defended it five times before signing with the UFC in 2017, has a professional mixed martial arts record of 23-3.
On the other end, UFC 274 will mark Oliveira’s second title defense. His first came in December at UFC 269 when he submitted Dustin Poirier with a rear-naked choke.