Abdelaziz expects Gaethje title shot, Makhachev-Dariush bout
Justin Gaethje and Islam Makhachev both called for a UFC lightweight title shot after scoring big wins in recent weeks.
Ali Abdelaziz, who manages both fighters, said earlier this week he believes Gaethje will fight the winner of the upcoming title fight between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier. Meanwhile, Abdelaziz suspects Makhachev will fight another one of his clients, fellow top contender Beneil Dariush.
"Probably you're going to see Beneil Dariush fight Islam Makhachev, and Justin Gaethje is going to fight for the title probably in May," Abdelaziz told TMZ Sports.
Gaethje, a former interim champion, returned to the win column at UFC 268 on Nov. 6 in a "Fight of the Year" candidate against Michael Chandler. The 33-year-old hadn't competed since his October 2020 title fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, which resulted in a second-round submission loss. He's won five of his last six bouts.
Makhachev, a former Nurmagomedov protege, is one of the fastest-rising lightweights in the promotion. He earned the biggest victory of his career at UFC 267 on Oct. 30, submitting Dan Hooker in the first round to extend his winning streak to nine. Makhachev, 30, holds a 21-1 professional record.
Gaethje, Dariush, and Makhachev are ranked No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 at lightweight, respectively.
Oliveira, who captured the vacant lightweight belt in May, is scheduled to make his first defense against Poirier at UFC 269 on Dec. 11.