Justin Gaethje challenged Islam Makhachev

The UFC’s No. 2 ranked lightweight, Justin Gaethje, is convinced that he should be the next opponent for the division’s current champion, Islam Makhachev, and not Charles Oliveira.

“I’m number two, and I knocked out Dustin Puryear,” MMA Fighting quoted the American as saying. “Charles Oliveira is ahead of me, but he already lost to Makhachev. I haven’t fought Makhachev. This is a new confrontation, and I think it’s exactly what the fans want.”

The Russian successfully defended his championship belt last weekend, knocking out Australian Alexander Volkanovski in the first round to replace the Brazilian, who had suffered a dissection, at short notice.

“I think Makhachev would have beaten Oliveira just like Volkanovski. Oliveira beat me, but math doesn’t work in MMA. I said Islam is not Khabib, but he could be, so I just want to go out there and figure it out.”

The American believes a knockout victory over Dustin Puryear is good enough reason to claim a title shot.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve earned my spot. I knocked out Dustin Puryear. Is it possible to beat Islam Makhachev? I don’t know, but I’ll give everything I have to find out, as I always do.”

At the press conference following UFC 294, the head of the organization, Dana White, ruled out the possibility that Islam Makhachev will challenge for the welterweight title in his next fight, naming Russian Charles Oliveira as the most likely opponent, but said the issue has not been finalized.