top of page

Rafael Fiziev eyes December or January return against 'yellow' Justin Gaethje

Rafael Fiziev, a lightweight contender in the UFC, challenged Justin Gaethje, a former interim champion, to a fight at the end of the year. Both of them are the UFC's two most intriguing lightweights. They're both in good health and could be willing to come back in December or January. Fiziev has already stated that he wants this matchup, and both fighters have recently had their noses fixed.

In the summer, Fiziev defeated Rafael dos Anjos via fifth-round TKO to earn his biggest MMA victory to date and solidify his place among the top 155-pound competitors. Fiziev is still aiming to advance in the rankings and obtain a crack at the crown, and the only way to do so is to compete against opponents who are ranked higher than him. Gaethje is one such competitor who just suffered a stoppage loss to champion Charles Oliveira in May. If Fiziev gets his wish, then this would be the next bout arranged. Both Fiziev and Gaethje are entertaining standup fighters who would undoubtedly put on a show for the crowd.

“I think I can fight December,” Fiziev told The AllStar. “But I want this guy, bro. This yellow guy. I want him because it’s a very big challenge for me and really, this is nice fight. He like fighting stand up, and I like fighting stand up. Of course, he want to take me down, but everybody know how much Gaethje love the top.”

Since defeating the former champion RDA, Fiziev has called out Gaethje, but the communication has only been one-way. Although he hasn't received a reaction to his appeals for a fight, "Ataman" thinks that's because Gaethje wants a great fight with Conor McGregor or another opponent who isn't as challenging. Fiziev is willing to wait for the fight if the former interim lightweight champion is serious.

“We’ll see, but hopefully I fight December or January with this guy,” Fiziev said. “Maybe January. I can wait (for) him. I can wait (for) him, I can wait like next year, for sure. No problem. I like it because now, my body is – I just rest, I feel good, I eat everything, what I want already. And now, mentally, I’m already want (to get) back to schedule, want (to get) back to diet, want to stay in shape. Skinny, you know? I miss for this.”

Fiziev, who fights twice a year on average, wants to begin or end his 2022 or 2023 campaign with a difficult opponent. He doesn't anticipate a change in his level of activity even with a fixed nose and a rested body. While Justin Gaethje, a former title challenger, underwent surgery to fix a long-standing problem with his nose. That implies he will be sidelined until sometime in the first quarter of next year.

“I told them next year,” Gaethje told MMA Fighting. “They got a fight for the title [at UFC 280], so somebody’s got to fight the loser. Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier are going to fight, somebody’s got to fight the winner. I’ll be ready next year, ideally January, February, or March, whatever they want to do. I’m not sure when Kamaru [Usman] is going to London [for the Leon Edwards rematch], but I wouldn’t mind fighting in London.”


bottom of page