Justin Gaethje is aiming for one more championship opportunity.
The former interim UFC lightweight champion has suffered losses to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira in his attempts to acquire undisputed gold. He nearly did it in his fight against Oliveira after dropping ‘Do Bronx’ twice in the first round but was finished via rear-naked choke at UFC 274 this past May.
Gaethje had not addressed his loss to Oliveira in the immediate aftermath but has since reflected on it during an appearance at the UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
“It’s a crazy game we play,” said Gaethje (video provided by MMA Fighting). “It’s the reason I love it. It’s a game of inches. At the end of the day, being at home in front of my crowd — sometimes you lose control of your emotions. I’m not exactly sure what happened. I had the time of my life, but it’s a crazy game we play.”
Gaethje also provided an update on when he expects to return to the Octagon. The ‘Highlight’ revealed he would be undergoing surgery on his nose soon, so that could keep him out of action for several months.
Once he recovers, Gaethje has set his sights on fighting his way to contention again for what could be his final shot at gold.
“I’m going to get nose surgery July 14,” said Gaethje. “Take a good month to recover and get back to work. I think end of the year, most likely early next year. There’s a few fights that are going to happen, so I’ll let those happen. I want to clear two [or] three fight path back to the title fight. I want to earn it, like I should, but I have a great manager, so I’m not worried about it too much. I’ll be ready to fight.
“I’ve been waiting for 13 years for someone in MMA to break my nose and it hasn’t happened,” continued Gaethje. “I broke it in wrestling practice 13 years ago, and life’s been hell since then. I have to wear a nose drip to bed every single night. Eating, sleeping, living, training, fighting. I’m not sure. I don’t even know what my f—king voice sounds like. I’ve been waiting for a long time to get this broken. No one has done it, so I’m going to do it myself and give it one last run towards the title.”
There was no mention of a potential opponent for his return, but Gaethje recently received a challenge from Mateusz Gamrot following his unanimous decision win over Arman Tsarukyan at UFC Vegas 57.
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