Justin Gaethje has squashed any talk of retirement plans and is desperate to work his way back into title contention amid a flurry of talent coming through the UFC lightweight rankings.
'The Highlight' hasn't fought in the UFC since October 2020 when he lost to former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov which has led to some speculation about his future with the promotion.
And now Gaethje's training partner Ryan Charlebois has whipped fans into a frenzy earlier this week after he claimed the American is considering retiring from mixed martial arts.
However, after learning about Charlebois' social media activity, Gaethje was quick to describe the rumours as 'straight BS'.
“This is straight BS [sic]. I’m far from done from chasing that high. I’m also guessing this dude fabricated this entire thing,” Gaethje wrote on Twitter.
Though his reputation precedes him, Gaethje (22-3) is perhaps the most exciting fighter on the UFC roster.
He bounced back from a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier by beating Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson in 2019 before being choked unconscious by Nurmagomedov in October.
Despite being a highly decorated wrestler in his own right, Gaethje rarely looks for the takedown, instead relying on an impressive arsenal of devastating leg kicks and legitimate one-punch knockout power punches.
His explosive fighting style is exactly what has endeared him to so many UFC fans around the world which makes his prolonged absence all the more confusing.
However, UFC president Dana White insists Gaethje is still part of his plans for the long-term future of the promotion.
He said: “He fits very well in all this. After this plays out, he’s probably next in line. It depends on what happens with Dustin and Conor.
“You know how that is. Timing is everything when these fights happen, how much damage did the guy who won take and what kind of personal s--- does he have going on.
“You know all that stuff factors into when the next fight would be, but Justin Gaethje couldn’t be in a better position.”
Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, 35, has repeatedly called out Gaethje and reiterated after his TKO loss to Charles Oliveira that he wants 'The Highlight' next.
It would make a serious statement if Gaethje could better the current champion and finish the 35-year-old even quicker.
Chandler and Gaethje have a combined record of 44-9, with 29 knockouts between them. Who wouldn't want to watch that!?News Now - Sport News