UFC: Justin Gaethje “100% Confident” Islam Makhachev Will Not Dominate Charles Oliveira

Salt Lake City, UT — UFC lightweight and former interim champ Justin Gaethje has been on the sidelines for a bit following his loss to Charles Oliveira earlier this year.

That’s not entirely due to the loss. Instead, Gaethje took time off to fix his nose, a longstanding issue that has nagged him throughout is career. The time away, he told media outlets including Cageside Press at UFC 278, has helped underscore that when it comes to MMA, the sport is both “really fast, and then really slow. I really enjoy both parts of this game. I got my nose fixed about five weeks ago, so anticipating my food is something I’m really enjoying.”

The Oliveira fight, at UFC 274 back in April, was something new for Gaethje. “My last fight, Charles was brilliant, and he hurt me often. He hurt me early. 10 seconds in I was really hurt, and probably four times after that. I felt something I’d never felt in the cage,” he stated. “Just one of those fights I was against adversity the whole time.”

The power of Oliveira, which clearly took the former WSOF champ by surprise, was “a feeling I’ve never felt,” he added. “Usually you get hit, call it a buzz, call it a flash. This is more like my tongue just went on a super powerful battery, and just my entire body— it was crazy.”

Having gone through that experience, Gaethje is certain that Islam Makhachev won’t simply walk through Oliveira when they meet at UFC 280 this October. The vacant title — Oliveira was stripped of the belt prior to fighting Gaethje, due to a weight miss attributed to a faulty scale — will be on the line that night. “I’m 100% confident that Islam will not dominate Charles, and that’s about it.”

“I don’t know how to explain it, that’s how I feel. The last time I stepped in there with him— there’s no way. It’s going to be a great fight. I wish I was there, I wish it wasn’t in Abu Dhabi so I could be there. We’re in for a treat.”

Watch the full media scrum with Justin Gaethje at UFC 278 above.