The fallout is ongoing from this past weekend’s pay-per-view event, with the leading topic emerging from the main event.
Headlining UFC 291 at Salt Lake City’s Delta Center were a pair of fellow former interim lightweight champions in Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. In addition to the ceremonial BMF belt, both men were vying for a third shot at undisputed status.
It was ultimately “The Highlight” who emerged with those prizes, earning redemption for a 2018 loss to “The Diamond” by brutally knocking him out with a head kick in round two.
In the immediate aftermath, Gaethje outlined his plan to await an opportunity at the 155-pound strap against the winner of Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira’s upcoming rematch in Abu Dhabi this October.
But one prominent former fighter-turned-analyst has identified another option…
Sonnen Suggests Gaethje vs. Volkanovski Could Solve LW ‘Logjam’
During a video recently uploaded to his YouTube channel, ex-middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen highlighted Oliveira’s past skepticism about competing at UFC 294.
With that, he suggested the promotion may be pursuing “The Highlight” as a backup fighter. While that perhaps seems like a long shot at this point in Gaethje’s career, Sonnen wondered if the pot could be sweetened by a guaranteed fight on the card should “Do Bronx” compete.
“Justin Gaethje grabbed that microphone with Joe Rogan, says that he believes he gets a title shot next. 16,000 people live in attendance co-signed that statement,” Sonnen said. “I’m not ready to be done with it yet. I do believe Justin Gaethje’s next fight will be for a world championship, (but) the way we are currently scheduled, the next time we contest a world championship it will not involve Justin Gaethje. How do those two things work? Well, he’s gonna wait. Waiting has very seldomly been a plan — I can only think of twice in all of history — that’s worked out. But he’s in a very different position.
“If Justin Gaethje’s next fight is for the belt and Charles does show up to Fight Island… What just happened to (Alexander) Volkanovski?” Sonnen continued. “Hear me out guys, what if Charles does fight Islam… and what if both Volk and Gaethje say, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna train and I’m not gonna get licensed for a backup spot. I would do it for a fight though.’ … I’m Gaethje talking; ‘I will fly out there and fight Volkanovski. If Charles doesn’t show up, we can flip a coin and one of us slides in. If he does, then we’ll just fight each other.’ … I don’t suggest for you that that’s the direction we’re going. I’m just suggesting that we’ve got a little bit of a logjam.”
Elsewhere, talk about Gaethje’s future has also included a money fight against Conor McGregor, who seems more interested in pursuing the Arizona native’s BMF strap than an expected date in the cage with Michael Chandler.
While “The Highlight” initially dismissed it owing to his belief that the Irishman is using steroids, he’s since changed his tune with a post on social media.
Sign the contract big boy. https://t.co/LZIv3x0su9
— Justin Gaethje 🇺🇸 (@Justin_Gaethje) August 1, 2023
Read Also: Jon Anik Points Out ‘Hard Time’ Alexander Volkanovski Will Have With UFC 291 Result
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