Gaethje (23-3) is coming off a win over former three-time Bellator champion Michael Chandler and his only losses are to champions or former champions. Gaethje’s first career loss came to former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. His second career loss was to former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier, and he was defeated by then lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
With the champion and top contender fighting for the title at UFC 269 on Dec. 11, Gaethje is certain that he’ll get the next crack at the 155-pound championship.
“I know I’m next in line,” Gaethje said during an appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “I was ranked number two. I was the last one to fight for the belt. The circumstances were not the same as the champ retired. It kind of resets everything. I was number two and I needed to get a win. I did that.”
“Dana (White), at the press conference, said this guy is ranked number two. If he wins, he’s fighting for the belt,” Gaethje said. “This is not boxing. The best thing is there is a path to the title. I took that path.”
“The guys that I fought – My three losses were to, at one time or another, a current champ, an interim champ, and a former champ,” he said. “I’ve taken the hardest road that they have out there.”