Justin Gaethje lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254, now odds have opened on who he fights next. Photo @ESPNStatsInfo (Twitter)
- Justin Gaethje lost by second-round submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254
- Does he fight for the vacant belt next?
- See the odds and best bet for who Gaethje fights next
Entering UFC 254, Justin Gaethje was considered the best stylistic matchup to defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, that was not the case as he suffered a second-round submission loss in what was his first crack at UFC undisputed gold.
Now, following the loss, Gaethje has already talked about making a quick turnaround to fight later this year or early 2021. So, oddsmakers have released odds on who “The Highlight’s” next opponent will be.
Justin Gaethje’s Next Opponent Odds
Odds taken Oct. 26
Who’s Next For The Highlight?
Immediately after his UFC 254 loss, Justin Gaethje was interviewed backstage and said he wanted to make a quick turnaround, but given the UFC already has all the main events set for the rest of the year, it is likely he won’t fight again until 2021.
Although Gaethje is coming off a loss to Nurmagomedov, he has proven he is one of the best lightweights in the UFC and could be one-half of a vacant lightweight title in 2021, however, I don’t see that happening. With Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier agreeing to rematch on January 23, that will likely be for the vacant belt, and also crosses both of them off this list.
Tony Ferguson, Donald Cerrone, and Khabib Nurmagomedov are also out of the picture given Gaethje dominated Ferguson in May, KO’d Cerrone in the first round last year and just lost to Nurmagomedov. So, that leaves two names in Nate Diaz and Michael Chandler. Diaz, meanwhile, has been fighting at 170, and it is almost impossible to predict when he will fight next.
So, for me, there were only two opponents that made sense and that was Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker, who for some reason is not on this list. Chandler openly talked about wanting the Gaethje fight after UFC 254 and the winner of that matchup would earn a title shot.
So after the completion of #UFC254 what is next for @MikeChandlerMMA !?? The Schmo asks the man himself. FULL INTERVIEW: https://t.co/UHvxgGHv1c pic.twitter.com/AW0MZ1ymVZ
— The Schmo (@TheSchmo312) October 25, 2020
The fight can easily headline a fight night card in 2021 and it is a very close and competitive fight. Both men have legit one-punch KO power, are phenomenal strikers, and have a wrestling background they both seldomly use. For Chandler, the fight also gives him a chance to prove he belongs among the elite in the UFC after signing with the promotion earlier this year.
So, the best bet is Michael Chandler, who in my mind, is the favorite to be Justin Gaethje’s next opponent.
Pick: Michael Chandler (+500)
Cole graduated from Sheridan College in April of 2019 with a diploma in journalism. He now is a full-time freelance writer, focusing on MMA for sites like BJPENN and MMA News, while also covering the Toronto Blue Jays as a credentialed media member. At SBD, Cole covers the four major sports and MMA.