Justin Gaethje dismisses claims he is ducking Michael Chandler

Justin Gaethje

Justin Gaethje last night denied he is afraid of facing his UFC rival Michael Chandler inside the Octagon and dismissed suggestions he has 'no interest' in fighting the former Bellator lightweight champion. 

'Iron Mike' Chandler (22-6), who lost to Charles Oliveira via TKO at UFC 262 in Houston, Texas, has once again called out former contender Gaethje, saying "him and his camp have no interest in fighting me."

But Gaethje (22-3) was having none of it, however, as he revealed he is currently on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, while dismissing claims he is deliberately avoiding Chandler in an attempt to protect his designated spot in the rankings. 

He tweeted: "@MikeChandlerMMA is talking out of his a--.

"I was waiting for the bout agreement 3 weeks into camp and wake up to news his daddy Dana gave him the shot. He’s been out of commission since the KO.

"What am I missing? I’m on vacay and this f----- is slandering my name. 3-4 times?"

Justin Gaethje responds to callout from Michael Chandler
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Gaethje's mentioning of the fact that he was 'waiting for the bout agreement 3 weeks into camp' was a direct reference to Chandler's vacant title fight with Oliveira, which took place at the Toyota Center, home to the Houston Rockets.  

And his use of the phrase 'daddy Dana' was a subtle dig at UFC president Dana White for opting not to putting him in with Oliveira instead of Chandler. 

Gaethje, 32, hasn't fought since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov - who announced his retirement from mixed martial arts in his post-fight interview - at UFC 254 in October 2020. 

'The Highlight' has also dropped several hints that he is getting the itch to return to the Octagon and recently suggested he wants to fight Dustin Poirier despite being called out by Chandler.

Justin Gaethje

His manager Ali Abdelaziz, however, has also dismissed the notion of the former UFC interim lightweight champion facing 'Iron Mike', who many wanted him to fight at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi. 

"I believe Justin Gaethje should be fighting Charles Oliveira next, that’s what I believe," the Dominance MMA CEO told MMA Junkie.

"Dustin maybe needs to take a break [and] let these two guys handle. I know the UFC wants to make Chandler. I think Mike Chandler doesn’t deserve nothing.

"He’s 1-1. He was knocked out in Bellator at 145. On paper it’s a great fight, but Mike Chandler doesn’t deserve anything.

"He needs to be quiet, sit down, and if Justin decides to fight him, he’ll let him know, but Mike Chandler doesn’t deserve anything.”

Read more: Khabib, BJ Penn, Royce Gracie: Anderson Silva names his 'Mount Rushmore' of UFC

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