Javier Mendez Sees More Options For Justin Gaethje To Win Than Michael Chandler

Gaethje ChandlerAmerican Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez is leaning towards Justin Gaethje at UFC 268. Gaethje returns to action for the first time in over a year when he faces Chandler at UFC 268 which takes place November 6 in Madison Square Garden, New York. Just about everyone is expecting a knockout within the first […]

Gaethje Chandler

American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez is leaning towards Justin Gaethje at UFC 268.

Gaethje returns to action for the first time in over a year when he faces Chandler at UFC 268 which takes place November 6 in Madison Square Garden, New York.

Just about everyone is expecting a knockout within the first five minutes as both fighters carry heavy power.

Mendez, however, believes Gaethje has more tools in his toolbox which should see “The Highlight” come out on top and return to the win column.

In particular, Mendez mentioned Gaethje’s leg kicking ability.

“Chandler’s a hell of a fighter. He’s got good speed, good power,” Mendez said on Mike Swick’s podcast (via Middle Easy). “Gaethje’s got a bigger chin and he’s fantastic at those low calf kicks. I don’t think Michael is as proficient with those leg kicks, just as I warned Khabib.

“… I don’t think Michael is going to be able to stop him on those calf kicks. Even if you practice them, he’s so good at them that even Khabib couldn’t really stop those calf kicks from coming in. He went through him because Khabib is just mentally tough.”

Whether Chandler can get through them as well remains to be seen. But in the end, Mendez simply feels Gaethje has more pathways to victory than Chandler.

“Justin Gaethje is going to be a handful for Michael but anything can happen. Michael’s got the power, the speed, they’ve both got good wrestling,” Mendez added. “I think the stronger chin is definitely Gaethje, I think the stronger kicker is definitely Gaethje and I think they match up well as far as power. … I think Gaethje has more options to win.”

Do you agree?

Charles Oliveira Responds To Justin Gaethje Branding Him A “Quitter”

UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira has slammed Justin Gaethje after “The Highlight” branded him a “quitter.” After over a decade in the promotion, Oliveira finally had UFC gold wrapped around his waist at UFC 262 in May. “Do Bronx” secured his spot in the vacant 155-pound title fight after racking up an eight-fight win streak […]

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UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira has slammed Justin Gaethje after “The Highlight” branded him a “quitter.”

After over a decade in the promotion, Oliveira finally had UFC gold wrapped around his waist at UFC 262 in May. “Do Bronx” secured his spot in the vacant 155-pound title fight after racking up an eight-fight win streak that included victories over Clay Guida, Nik Lentz, Kevin Lee, and Tony Ferguson.

In the Houston-held pay-per-view’s main event, the Brazilian faced former Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler. After overcoming adversity in the opening frame, Oliveira recovered to record a TKO victory in the second. In doing so, he reached the lightweight mountaintop after 28 fights in the UFC.

Despite a hard-fought victory and a heart-warming championship crowning, not everybody was impressed. Speaking months after UFC 262, former interim champ Gaethje suggested Chandler showed that Oliveira is still a “quitter.”

During a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, the lightweight king fired back. Oliveira slammed Gaethje for his performance against Khabib Nurmagomedov, and suggested the #2-ranked contender is simply trying to keep himself relevant because he’s been on the sidelines for so long.

“He [Chandler] landed a good hand, had the opportunity to knock me out and win the fight but couldn’t. I went there and knocked him out. Justin Gaethje had the opportunity to fight for the belt against Khabib and you all saw what happened, I don’t need to say what happened. The ugliest fight I’ve ever seen in my life, he died, so I don’t have anything to say. You know when a guy needs to talk to be on the spotlight? To me, that’s what’s going on here. He needs to talk to be on the spotlight.

“On Dec. 11, Charles Oliveira will be fighting Dustin Poirier and if God wants me to win and continue with this belt, these guys have to win, they have to fight. If they fight and win, they can come. Tell them to come try and see if I’ll quit. They don’t understand it’s a new Charles, mentally, physically and spiritually. They may hit hard, but can they take it when I hit them back? I’m the same Charles that doesn’t talk, I lay low, but these guys just want attention. And how do they seek for it? Justin Gaethje hasn’t fought in what, a year? Everybody saw his last fight. It’s been a while. What happens is that if you don’t fight you have to talk, so he has to talk to get attention.”

Oliveira further disputed the claim that his title victory showed his tendency to quit. He encouraged Gaethje to earn a shot at the 155-pound gold and prove that the Brazilian is a quitter himself.

“Michael Chandler landed a good one and hit me hard for basically three minutes, he did everything he could and I didn’t quit. Why? I’m in a great place mentally, physically and spiritually,” Oliveira said. “When I hit him, he folded. What they are saying doesn’t make much sense.

“Those who think I’m a quitter, tell them to earn it, win their fights and come get it. We’ll see who quits and loses. But come ready, both on the feet and on the ground. That’s what I have to say. There’s no point talking, brother. If talking won fights I’d put a parrot in there to win fights because no one talks more than them. I have a red macaw in my farm and it talks all day long, so it would win everything.”

Oliveira will have the chance to prove “The Highlight” wrong when he makes his first title defense later this year. In the UFC 269 main event, he’ll face the challenge of Dustin Poirier.

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 269, Charles Oliveira or Dustin Poirier?

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Justin Gaethje Planning “Violent” And “Fast” Victory Over Chandler

Former Interim UFC Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje is hoping to give Michael Chandler a “fast” and “violent” end to his night at UFC 268. Gaethje hasn’t been in action in almost a year. He last entered the Octagon at UFC 254 in a bid to become the first man to defeat the great Khabib Nurmagomedov. […]

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Former Interim UFC Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje is hoping to give Michael Chandler a “fast” and “violent” end to his night at UFC 268.

Gaethje hasn’t been in action in almost a year. He last entered the Octagon at UFC 254 in a bid to become the first man to defeat the great Khabib Nurmagomedov. Despite a promising opening round, “The Highlight” failed to leave Abu Dhabi with undisputed gold after falling unconscious to a second-round triangle choke.

After being snubbed for the vacant lightweight title fight that went down at UFC 262 following Khabib’s retirement, Gaethje is looking to burst back into the title picture when he returns next month. On a stacked UFC 268 card, the 32-year-old will face fellow former title challenger Chandler. He’ll be hoping to set the tone for his teammates Kamaru Usman and Rose Namajunas, who will be defending their respective titles in the main and co-main event.

Ahead of his upcoming return to the cage, Gaethje spoke with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto. When asked what he’s expecting from the former Bellator Lightweight Champion heading into the pay-per-view, “The Highlight” suggested the pair will put on a “fun” fight for the fans. He also encouraged Chandler to fatigue himself by attempting to take him down.

“Being a wrestler, being a competitor his whole life, I think he’s gonna come out firing shots. I think it’s gonna be a great fight… which will be fun, fun for the crowd and fun for me. Will he start wrestling after I start landing big shots? I’m not sure, probably. But again, I’ve been defending takedowns my whole life. If he wants to waste energy there, then that’s fine. When he stands up he won’t be able to block his face anymore.”

Discussing the previous barnburners he’s had with the likes of Tony Ferguson, Gaethje suggested his fighting style naturally produces entertaining scraps. He doesn’t anticipate his next outing being any different, although he is looking to finish Chandler faster and more “violently” than he did “El Cucuy.”

“There’s only one common denominator in every single one of those fights and that’s myself. So, it is what it is, that’s how I fight. This fight will be just the same. I’m gonna go out there and try and break this dude as fast as possible, as violently as possible. ‘Most violent man’ and all that bullshit, doesn’t matter, I’m 22-3 with 19 knockouts, which one of those dudes can say that, which one of those dudes can say they got nine bonuses in their first seven fights, not one of them. The common denominator is gonna be me every single time. It’s the way I fight, it’s why they pay me so much money.”

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 268, Justin Gaethje or Michael Chandler?

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Gaethje On Makhachev: I Hate Seeing Unexciting Fighters Get Pushed

Former Interim UFC Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje has questioned Islam Makhachev’s rapid rank rise, claiming he doesn’t like seeing fighters that “are not exciting” get pushed. Makhachev, who is widely regarded as the Dagestani heir to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s vacated throne, has quickly ascended the 155-pound UFC ladder this year. After submitting Drew Dober at UFC […]

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Former Interim UFC Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje has questioned Islam Makhachev’s rapid rank rise, claiming he doesn’t like seeing fighters that “are not exciting” get pushed.

Makhachev, who is widely regarded as the Dagestani heir to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s vacated throne, has quickly ascended the 155-pound UFC ladder this year. After submitting Drew Dober at UFC 259 in March, the surging contender secured his first main event in the promotion. Against then-#14 lightweight Thiago Moisés, Makhachev extended his win streak to eight.

With wins over Nik Lentz, Gleison Tibau, Arman Tsarukyan, and Davi Ramos, the Russian had already established himself as a name to watch out for in 2021. Following consecutive wins this year, Makhachev has moved a big step closer to the title, perhaps a bigger step than many believe was warranted.

Despite being ranked at #9 heading into UFC Vegas 31, and beating a man sat below him in the top 15, Makhachev found himself inside the divisional top five in the rankings update following his fourth-round submission victory over the Brazilian. That was despite not facing a single top 10 opponent.

Like many fans and pundits, #2-ranked Justin Gaethje has questioned the decision to have the rising 30-year-old jump above so many other contenders. In an interview with Helen Yee, “The Highlight” described the four-spot rank rise as “crazy.”

“It’ll be good to see Islam fight someone that’s ranked high. It was crazy to see, you know, we’ve got the same management and all that, but to see the dude jump from 15, or wherever, 12 to five, after beating the #14 guy, was pretty crazy to me So yeah, I’m glad to see him fight an actual ranked fighter.”

Suggesting he finds Makhachev to be unexciting, Gaethje added that he doesn’t enjoy seeing fighters that don’t bring a high level of entertainment to the Octagon receive pushes.

“I hate to see people get pushed that are not finishing people or are not exciting. But, that’s just me and that’s how I’ll be whether he’s champion or not, that’ll be my outlook.”

Makhachev’s next fight was originally set to be against long-time rival Rafael dos Anjos. After the Brazilian withdrew from injury, Dan Hooker has stepped in to face Makhachev at UFC 267 this month. In what will be the Russian’s stiffest test to date, Gaethje is hoping to see “The Hangman” bring the fight to the 30-year-old.

“Islam’s obviously gonna go out there and try and wrestle, try to control and, you know, fight the fight that they fight. I think he’s going to be a big favorite. He’s probably a huge favorite because Dan Hooker’s a striker, he’s not a grappler, he’s never been known as a grappler. I hope he can stop some takedowns and make Islam fight. We’ve seen him get knocked out before.”

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 267, Islam Makhachev or Dan Hooker?

Continue Reading Gaethje On Makhachev: I Hate Seeing Unexciting Fighters Get Pushed at MMA News.

Dariush Says He’s Deserving Of Title Shot Over Gaethje/Chandler Victor

UFC lightweight Beneil Dariush has claimed he’s more deserving of a shot at the 155-pound title than whoever wins the Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler clash at UFC 268. Dariush’s red-hot form went largely unnoticed prior to his most recent Octagon appearance. After defeats to Edson Barboza and Alexander Hernandez, the Iranian-born fighter was largely […]

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UFC lightweight Beneil Dariush has claimed he’s more deserving of a shot at the 155-pound title than whoever wins the Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler clash at UFC 268.

Dariush’s red-hot form went largely unnoticed prior to his most recent Octagon appearance. After defeats to Edson Barboza and Alexander Hernandez, the Iranian-born fighter was largely written off as a contender. Nearly three years later, the 32-year-old has built a seven-fight win streak, and secured the #3 spot in the lightweight rankings.

After getting back on track by defeating the likes of Thiago Moisés and Drew Dober, Dariush burst back onto the agenda with a memorable comeback knockout against Drakkar Klose at UFC 248. After another highlight-reel KO against Scott Holtzman, the UFC veteran had the opportunity to climb up the rankings against Carlos Diego Ferreira. Having fallen on the right side of a split decision, the California resident booked a meeting in the cage with fan favorite Tony Ferguson.

At UFC 262, Dariush completely dominated “El Cucuy” across three rounds. In a similar fashion to Charles Oliveira, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt prevented Ferguson from utilizing any of his weapons and cruised to a comfortable unanimous decision victory.

Having stepped away from action for the birth of his child, Dariush is ready to continue his quest to achieve UFC title glory. In a recent interview with The Schmo, the surging contender revealed he’s targeting a December return, and is willing to be backup for the UFC 269 main event between champion Oliveira and Dustin Poirier.

“I spoke with Sean [Shelby] and I said, ‘I just wanna fight December. Give me a little time to get used to the baby, and whoever you give me is fine.’ No name yet… I’m definitely interested in the [UFC 269] alternate position… I’m more than ready to go.”

In the other notable lightweight clash set to go down in the final months of the year, top-five contenders Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler will throw hands on the UFC 268 main card next month. Despite many suggesting the winner of that fight will be next in line for a title shot, Dariush believes his form has him ahead of both in the queue.

“Seven-fight win streak, I guess a bunch of bonuses… and I got like 20 fights in the UFC, people forget. I think I have like 16 wins in the UFC or something. So, I think that puts me a little bit ahead of everybody.

“I’ll probably get somebody to run through, and then either Charles or Dustin, which for me, makes no difference.”

The lightweight title scene will certainly becoming a lot clearer following UFC 268. In what is one of the most stacked cards of the year so far, Chandler and Gaethje’s clash will be joining two blockbuster championship rematches inside Madison Square Garden.

In the main event, UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman will look to successfully defend his title for the second time against Colby Covington. In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas will make the first defense of her second reign as the strawweight queen. For the second time this year, she’ll meet Zhang Weili inside the Octagon.

Do you think Beneil Dariush deserves a title shot over the winner of Michael Chandler vs. Justin Gaethje?

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Justin Gaethje Questions “Bullsh*t” Reason Behind Vacant Title Fight Snub

UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje has reiterated his annoyance at the fact he wasn’t chosen to fight for the vacant lightweight title earlier this year. In October 2020, Gaethje was preparing for his unification clash with the legendary Khabib Nurmagomedov. Prior to his meeting with “The Eagle,” the 32-year-old had been on a destructive path in […]

Continue Reading Justin Gaethje Questions “Bullsh*t” Reason Behind Vacant Title Fight Snub at MMA News.

UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje has reiterated his annoyance at the fact he wasn’t chosen to fight for the vacant lightweight title earlier this year.

In October 2020, Gaethje was preparing for his unification clash with the legendary Khabib Nurmagomedov. Prior to his meeting with “The Eagle,” the 32-year-old had been on a destructive path in the lightweight division, leaving the bodies of James Vick, Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone, and Tony Ferguson in his wake. His finish of “El Cucuy” at UFC 249 saw him crowned the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion.

As Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier had done before him, Gaethje fell short of reaching the 155-pound mountaintop. After an encouraging opening round, “The Highlight” was put to sleep by Khabib in the second frame. Nevertheless, his form beforehand, and the fact he had held the interim gold in 2020, suggested Gaethje would be firmly in the title conversation after the Dagestani retired following UFC 254.

Justin Gaethje
Image Credit: Getty Images

Surprisingly. that’s not how things panned out for the striking brute. While Dustin Poirier ran it back with former foe Conor McGregor twice in the space of six months, veteran Charles Oliveira met with former Bellator champ Michael Chandler, who boasted just one appearance in the UFC, in a battle for the vacant 155-pound gold.

In an interview with The Schmo, Gaethje suggested he was the one top contender left in the cold after Khabib vacated the belt. In his eyes, the fact he had held the interim title prior to the Russian’s departure from the sport should have been enough to secure his place in the UFC 262 main event.

“#1 fought #5, #3 fought #4, and if you were #2, you got fucked. It just so happened that my name was next to that #2 spot. It is what it is.

“I was the most recent interim titleholder. You know, I see both ways to it. From the outside, being me, yeah I was not happy. If I’m on the inside and I’m running a $4 billion company, $5 or $6 million company, then I probably want to try and have people forget about that guy. They did what they wanted to do; had to do in their eyes. I was upset, but it doesn’t matter. Gotta go on and gotta keep working.”

Despite admitting that he doesn’t believe fighters should receive title shots off the back of a loss, Gaethje suggested the circumstance surrounding the lightweight championship scene should have warranted an exception. “The Highlight” believes that to be especially true considering the recent news that Cory Sandhagen will step in to face Petr Yan at UFC 267 for the Interim UFC Bantamweight Championship.

“I lost. I don’t think you should get a title shot off a loss. But I think the circumstances were special. Similar to the circumstances that got Cory Sandhagen his title fight. He came off a loss and he’s jumped in there for a title fight. And the guy [Aljamain Sterling] didn’t retire. There were even more special circumstances in that [Khabib vacating the belt]. There’s other examples of people getting shots off of losses. So yeah, I thought that was a bullshit way to say I shouldn’t get it.”

After Charles Oliveira’s crowning at UFC 262, “Do Bronx” will make his first title defense at UFC 269 on December 11. A month earlier, Justin Gaethje will look to book his place opposite the victor of the final pay-per-view main event of the year in early 2022.

“The Highlight” will clash with former title challenger Chandler on a stacked UFC 268 card. After a number of back-and-forths surrounding who will take the first backward step and the relative UFC newcomer’s comments on the COVID-19 vaccine, the anticipation for Gaethje’s first fight in over a year is about as high as it could be.

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 268, Justin Gaethje or Michael Chandler?

Continue Reading Justin Gaethje Questions “Bullsh*t” Reason Behind Vacant Title Fight Snub at MMA News.