They might be rivals in the same division, but Michael Chandler had no problem heaping praise on former opponent Justin Gaethje following “The Highlight’s” knockout win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 291 last weekend.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Chandler broke down Gaethje’s BMF title-winning performance as he knocked out Poirier with a spectacular head kick in the main event in Salt Lake City.
And, as he delivered his conclusions from the performance, Chandler stated that this version of Gaethje has all the tools to go on and not just challenge for the undisputed UFC lightweight championship, but win it.
“Justin Gaethje is no longer just a pugilist who goes out there and swings for the fences and wants to brawl,” he said.
“Justin Gaethje is on a quest to win a world title, and I think Justin Gaethje will go out there and win a world title. Whether it’s Makhachev or Oliveira, Gaethje’s going to get that title fight next.”
Gaethje has fought for the lightweight title twice before, losing to Makhachev’s mentor and friend Khabib Nurmagomedov, and to Oliveira. But now Chandler thinks that the refinements Gaethje has worked into his game will make the difference and carry him to the undisputed title.
“I think Justin Gaethje is the UFC lightweight champion by the first quarter of next year,” he continued.
“I think he beats Islam (Makhachev). I think he beats (Charles) Oliveira. Justin Gaethje has cleaned up. He already had all the attributes – he already had the cardio, the speed, the power, he’s got great wrestling defense. He already had all the attributes. But now, him honing in those skills, it’s gonna be tough for one of those dudes to beat him, I think.”