Justin Gaethje has warned Charles Oliveira that Dustin Poirier is ‘going to beat him up’ pretty badly – adding that the UFC lightweight champion is nothing like his predecessor Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Although the clash of styles is yet to be officially confirmed, talks are currently ongoing with a winter mega-fight in the works for UFC 269 on December 11.
Poirier appears to have shaken off any lingering after-effects from his Nurmagomedov mauling by convincingly beating Conor McGregor again this summer.
Oliveira, 31, has gone unbeaten over the last three years having won eight straight fights in a row including his last against Michael Chandler on May 15.
And Gaethje has now had his say on the potential scrap.
The 32-year-old told the UFC that Poirier has his backing primarily because ‘Oliveira is not Khabib’.
“[Oliveira] is a great grappler — he’s a great grappler — but again he doesn’t have great ability to take you down to the ground.
“Poirier being a southpaw, it’s always funky when you face southpaws. It’s a little bit different, you don’t see them too often.
“[Poirier] does a great job at controlling range. Oliveira is not Khabib [Nurmagomedov] — he doesn’t march forward and march through things to close that distance.
“He really needs you to either choose to take him down or he needs you to buy into the grappling with him and go into the clinch.
“He has some good takedowns from the clinch and I think that’s the only time he takes people down, is from the clinch. So I don’t see Poirier being in the clinch a lot.”
‘I’m not high on Oliveira yet’
Gaethje also feels Oliveira gets far more credit than he actually deserves for beating Tony Ferguson in the manner that he did, arguing that he had already laid out the blueprint on how to defeat the former UFC interim lightweight champion.
“I’m not high on Oliveira yet, and I get a lot of s— for it,” he explained.
“He fought eight [wins] in a row, but at the end of the day, Tony Ferguson was the best win on that streak by far, and it was after I put him through 24 minutes and 15 seconds of f—— straight hell.
“And I didn’t break [Ferguson], he’s not done — that dude is a special kind of dude so he’ll never be broken — but there’s a certain way to fight that man, and I showed you how to do it.
“So that win isn’t as great as it was — and it wasn’t as great as when I beat him, when he was on his 12-fight win streak.
“After that, it’s not as great, and that’s just what I think.”
‘I would love to fight Charles Oliveira’
‘Do Bronx’ has not fought since May, when he became the first man to ever beat Chandler, 35, inside the Octagon, and won the UFC belt in doing so.
But Gaethje has questioned Oliveira’s CV on the way to the top.
“Great fights but not championship calibre contender fights,” he added.
“That just is what it is. Hey, he’s got the belt, he can tell me to shove it.
“That’s what I would be saying, exactly what he said — I would tell me to shove it up my a– and go win eight in a row.
“I’m in a great position, I don’t have to win eight in a row. I’ve got to win one in a row.
“So if he wins, I would love to fight Charles Oliveira, because I will show you what I’m saying.
“He’s a quitter. He is a quitter. He showed it to you in the Michael Chandler fight.
“At the end of the first round, he was not looking good, he didn’t want to be there.
“He doesn’t want to be there when it gets nasty. That’s just what I think, that’s my opinion. And Poirier is going to beat him up.”