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"Not often does my opponent get to best me in the inspirational department" - Justin Gaethje lauds Michael Chandler's 'not smart, but commendable' show of heart at UFC 268

Justin Gaethje (left) and Michael Chandler (right) [Image Courtesy: @justin_gaethje on Instagram]
Justin Gaethje (left) and Michael Chandler (right) [Image Courtesy: @justin_gaethje on Instagram]
Danish Ansari

It is very rare for a fighter to walk out unscathed when they get into an all-out brawl with Justin Gaethje. After three rounds of war at UFC 268, Gaethje edged out a unanimous decision win over Michael Chandler in a fight that was nothing short of a spectacle.

While Chandler may have lost the battle, he gained admiration from Gaethje for putting his heart on display.

During episode 546 of UFC Unfiltered, 'The Highlight' looked back at his fight with Chandler and revealed that he was truly impressed by the latter’s ability to endure and finish the fight. The former interim UFC lightweight champion said:

"Not often does my opponent get to best me in the inspirational department and I’m so glad that he [Chandler] is getting recognition for that. He made a choice and it really can relate to everybody in everybody’s life. The choices that you make and the choices you are making right now is all that matters. He [Chandler] made a choice to not go away and to not give up and that’s the only way you can take those shots and take that damage so it is commendable. Not smart, but commendable!”

Watch Justin Gaethje's full interview below:

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Justin Gaethje gunning for lightweight title shot after stunning performance against Michael Chandler

After an impressive win over Chandler, Justin Gaethje is now calling for a title shot against the winner of the UFC 269 title fight between current lightweight champion Charles Olivera and No.1 contender Dustin Poirer. Gaethje also has his eyes on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protégé and rising lightweight prospect Islam Makhachev.

'The Highlight' believes Makhachev is looking to jump the line after being endorsed by Daniel Cormier and former 155lbs kingpin Khabib Nurmagomedov. Cormier and Nurmagomedov suggested that Makhachev should be next in line for a title shot.

While Gaethje is convinced that he deserves a title shot next, he also recently stated that there is a good chance he will fight Makhachev in the future. In a recent interview with MMAFighting, Justin Gaethje stated that if he became champion, he'd let Islam Makhachev be his first opponent for a title defense. 'The Highlight' said:

"I’ll let him [Makhachev] go first if he gets his spot. I’ll beat one of these guys [Poirier or Oliveira] and then I’ll let him go first. I’m looking forward to that. War’s coming. He wants to know one thing, f**king war is coming, so bring it.”

Justin Gaethje has also been involved in a back and forth with Khabib Nurmagomedov on Twitter as he boasted his superior credentials against that of Makhachev's.

Your boy has 2 and you want him to fight for the belt. My 3 losses are former champ, interim champ, and current champ. Islam beat #14 and a late replacement #6. Stay humble champ 🙏 Get in line. Don’t forget @beneildariush is sitting right in front of you. twitter.com/TeamKhabib/sta…

Watch Justin Gaethje's interview with MMA Fighting below:

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Edited by Avinash Tewari

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