Justin Gaethje's manager Ali Abdelaziz has provided an update on the current status of The Highlight. Abdelaziz claimed he had no idea what could be next for Gaethje while stating that he and Sean Shelby would have to sort out Gaethje's situation.
During his recent interview with ESPN MMA, Abdelaziz claimed that he doesn't like Gaethje's current predicament, as The Highlight seems to be the odd man out in the lightweight division.
Ali believes there isn't a proper fight for Gaethje now, but the UFC could book a "fun fight." The Highlight's manager revealed that they had asked for a showdown against former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, but the UFC didn't entertain the idea. Abdelaziz explained:
"Listen, I don't know. This is something that me and Sean Shelby have to talk about and we're going to have to figure it out. It's a problem I don't like because he's the odd man out. There's nobody out there really for him to fight or maybe you can make a fun fight. Like somebody fun, right? But we asked for Max Holloway, I got cussed out but I understand."
Justin Gaethje's last fight in the UFC was last November when he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254. Having lost to The Eagle - in what would be Nurmagomedov's last fight - Gaethje also lost the opportunity to win the undisputed UFC lightweight championship. Since the defeat to Khabib, Justin Gaethje has yet to step back into the octagon.
With multiple fights already confirmed in the lightweight division - including the trilogy between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, along with the fight for the vacant lightweight title between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler - The Highlight is indeed the odd man out with no proper direction at the moment.
Who could Justin Gaethje realistically face next?
As mentioned above, most of the UFC top lightweights seem to be booked in bouts against one another at the moment. Top contenders Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush are also set to face each other at UFC 262, leaving Dan Hooker and Rafael dos Anjos as Gaethje's only realistic options for a fight.
A matchup against Hooker could end up coming to fruition, especially considering that both the New Zealander and Gaethje have pretty similar styles inside the octagon.