Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev is one of the more highly anticipated fights taking place at UFC 286 — not just because it has all the makings for an exciting matchup but because of the importance it carries with regards to the upper echelon of the UFC lightweight rankings as well, according to Daniel Cormier.
Gaethje, the former interim lightweight champion, currently sits third in the UFC lightweight rankings, but after losing his second attempt at a title to Charles Oliveira at UFC 274, Cormier believes that his fight against is a must-win.
“Justin Gaethje is a kill or be killed guy,” Cormier said on his DC & RC show. “His mentality doesn’t change. He’s just a crazy fighter who just loves being in the mix, and I know the same thing about Rafael Fiziev. This one’s interesting, but this is also one of those fights that can be the changing of the guard because if Gaethje loses this one, it’ll be very difficult for him to regain that place and that esteem that he holds in the lightweight division.”
Before his loss to Oliveira, Gaethje (23-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) secured a unanimous decision against Michael Chandler at UFC 268 in a fast-paced, three-round fight that won Fight of the Year honors in 2022.
Rafael Fiziev (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) is currently on a six fight winning streak, with his last two fights being KO wins against Rafael dos Anjos and Brad Riddell respectively.
UFC 286 will take place in London on March 18th.
Are you looking forward to the Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev fight? Do you view it as an important one to the lightweight division, a la Daniel Cormier? Let us know what you think in the comments.