Justin Gaethje looks set to return to the cage for the first time since his lightweight title defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov last year to face former Bellator standout Michael Chandler at the UFC’s November return to New York City.
Gaethje and Chandler, two of the UFC lightweight division’s most powerful punchers, have often been the subject of fantasy matchups by fans eager to see what would happen when if the two knockout artists clashed inside the middle of a UFC octagon.
Those dreams look set to become a reality amid reports that contracts are close to being signed for a battle between the two which would take place inside Madison Square Garden on November 6.
The pair would come into the fight having licked their wounds from previous defeats. For Gaethje, it was the second-round submission loss to Nurmagomedov on ‘Fight Island’ last year in what was the Russian icon’s final career fight, while Chandler also came up short in his bid to secure the undisputed UFC championship when he was finished by Charles Oliveira for the vacant 155lbs title earlier this year.
With both looking to re-establish their credentials in the talent-rich lightweight division ahead of a presumed title fight between Oliveira and Dustin Poirier later this year, fans will be keenly anticipating fireworks when two aggressive, walk-forward sluggers meet in what is expected to be the UFC’s return to the Big Apple after skipping their annual event in the city last year due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Per an initial report from ESPN, contracts have yet to be signed to make Gaethje vs. Chandler official but both parties are understood to be agreeable to the bout.
In many ways, a matchup between the two has seemed like an inevitability since it was announced that Chandler was to join the UFC ranks from Bellator last year.
Both fighters employ hugely fan-friendly fighting styles and are rarely involved in fights which could be considered in any way boring, and it is also understood that the UFC have long had plans in place to attempt to arrange a contest between the two.
The matchup, should it be confirmed as expected, will be a significantly interesting co-main event bout to the scheduled welterweight title rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington, which is expected to top the UFC 268 card in November.
As you might expect, fans are very much anticipating a war when two of the division’s top-ranked and most exciting fighters square off.
Gaethje vs Chandler is the literal definition of violence. I am so excited.
— Nick Young (@NickYoung665) July 30, 2021
That Gaethje versus Chandler fight is going to be INSANE. Both guys have ridiculous power. Probably will be fight of the night and even possibly fight of the year. I’m very excited.
— Ian Ace (@iace5076) July 30, 2021
“Gaethje vs Chandler is the literal definition of violence. I am so excited,” wrote one fan online in response to the potential fight, while another indicated that they are expecting to see one of the year’s most entertaining brawls when the two finally set foot into the Octagon with one another.
“That Gaethje versus Chandler fight is going to be insane,” they wrote.
“Both guys have ridiculous power. Probably will be fight of the night and even possibly fight of the year. I’m very excited.”
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