Justin Gaethje: Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev ‘could be an amazing fight, or it could be extremely boring’


Justin Gaethje is torn when it comes to making an official pick for the UFC 280 lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev, but he’s slightly leaning towards Makhachev to get it done.

Makhachev and Oliviera will battle it out for the vacant belt in the main UFC event at Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi. Oliveira stopped Gaethje in the first round at May’s UFC 274 event in his most recent bout, but was stripped of the title after missing weight in a historic and unfortunate moment.

With his sights set on getting another chance to fight for the title, Gaethje will certainly be watching the highly anticipated matchup very closely.

“It could be an amazing fight, or it could be extremely boring,” Gaethje told MMA Fighting. “Makhachev probably wins by decision, but Oliveira’s been super impressive.”

Gaethje recently teamed up with the UFC, Modelo, and Rebuilding Together for the promotion’s gym revitalization program in Denver. For the program’s second gym renovation, Topeira Boxing Club was chosen after local trainer and owner Joaquin Romero was tragically killed in a hit and run accident in February, which led to his father Oscar taking over to keep his son’s dream alive.

Gaethje, who had a successful procedure to his nose over the summer and is now hoping to be back in the octagon for the first quarter 2023,. He believes that he might face the winner of the 155-pound championship fight.

With the stakes high and the margin of error small, Gaethje believes that one aspect of the fight could prove to be crucial for both men.

“I think whoever is hanging out on their back foot is going to lose,” Gaethje said. “I don’t see Makhachev being on his back foot, and Charles is going to make it a point to not be on his back foot. Can Makhachev place him there? That’s going to be the biggest factor.”