UFC enthusiasts who were wanting to see Rafael Fiziev face Justin Gaethje, a former lightweight championship contender, reportedly received some great information.
Upon entering the Top 15 in the division, Kazakhstan's favorite lightweight prospect has made it apparent who he intends to face. As per Fiziev, a fight between him and Justin Gaethje is currently being planned for the first quarter of 2023.
“I’m not announcing anything, but the UFC promised us that I’ll be fighting Justin Gaethje in March,” Fiziev told Captain Hardcore (h/t Red Corner MMA). “Everyone wants this fight, Dana White wants this fight. I was told to get ready for March.
“We’re waiting for the contract to make it official. That’s what it is as of now. If something changes, I’ll be shocked.”
Due to his ambition to compete against people who are ranked higher than him, Gaethje recently appeared uninterested in a matchup with Fiziev. Gaethje seeks matches that will inspire him to practice and push through the hardships of a fight camp at this juncture in his distinguished career. Since losing to Charles Oliveira for the lightweight championship at UFC 274, he hasn't engaged in a competition inside the octagon.
The fact that all single noteworthy fighters in the lightweight division have been competing against one another has become one of the recently noted "problems" in the division. As a result, the emerging contenders miss out on their chances to advance and further solidify their positions.
Arman Tsarukyan, a rival who competes with Fiziev, also remarked that fighters like Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, and Michael Chandler must either face new opponents or quit the sport altogether.
Gaethje lately indicated that he preferred a Poirier rematch against all other possibilities. Considering this, Fiziev is utterly certain that events will go in his favor.
“If it gets canceled, I’ll record a story like, ‘UFC, what’s going on?’” Fiziev said. “[Location] is the only question. They said either [London or Las Vegas], March 4 or 18.
“I like that the UFC supported this fight from the beginning. Gaethje is being quiet, [his manager] Ali Abdelaziz tried to say something. They are still doing what they’ve been doing. The UFC wants it. When the UFC wants it, they make it happen.”
It would be an effort to state that Fiziev has received his chance to compete with a top-tier star like Gaethje. The biggest achievement of "Ataman's" career occurred in July 2022, when he defeated Rafael dos Anjos, the former lightweight champion, to continue his winning streak to 6-fights.
After Oliveira was defeated by Islam Makhachev at UFC 280, things are going well. Gaethje's quasi-competitor now retains the championship, hence a victory over Fiziev might qualify him for a future title fight. The same goes for Fiziev too. With his winning streak and strong display, a win over Gaethje might cement his place in the title fight.
The fight will happen sometime, perhaps as soon as UFC 286 in London. Gaethje wishes to compete on the same card as Kamaru Usman, a comrade who will certainly encounter Leon Edwards.