The 2021 All-Violence Classic has been verbally agreed to: Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler have finally signed off on a fight, targeted for November’s UFC 268.
The fight has long been a dream booking for MMA fans, and inched closer to reality when Chandler signed with the UFC last year. Following Chandler’s defeat at the hands of Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title in May, the fight seemed like a no-brainer. However, Chandler took to social media to campaign for the fight, getting under the skin of Gaethje.
Regardless, the deal appears done, if just verbally for the time being. ESPN, the UFC’s official broadcast partner, was first to report the news on Friday. UFC 268 is expected to take place on November 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, a date and venue first reported by Cageside Press.
Gaethje (22-3) has not fought since coming up short in a title challenge against Khabib Nurmagomedov in November 2020. “The Eagle” retired following the win, which saw him submit Gaethje in the second round. For Gaethje, the loss snapped a four-fight win streak that saw him defeat the likes of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Tony Ferguson.
All four of those aforementioned wins came via TKO/KO, three in the first round.
Chandler (22-6) had a three-fight win streak snapped when fell to Oliveira for the title vacated by Khabib. The former multi-time Bellator MMA champion stopped Dan Hooker in his octagon debut on Fight Island back in January.
The winner of Chandler vs. Gaethje should be on the fast-track back to a title shot in the 155lb division. Fans, meanwhile, should be the real winners in this one.
Also expected for the UFC 268 card in New York is the hotly anticipated rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington, though the fight has yet to be officially announced.