Gathje last entered the octagon in October 2020, when he faced division champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Even with the defeat, ‘Highlight’ managed to keep its No. 2 position in the standings.
Chandler made his debut in a spectacular play against Dan Hooker at UFC 257 in January 2021, knocking out his opponent in the opening round.
Former lightweight champion Bellator has joined the world’s largest combat organization with much praise from its president, UFC chief Dan White. Chandler currently ranks 4th on the 155-pound scale.
With all that in mind, what would be the most appropriate date for Gaethje vs Chandler? The answer may not be that simple, but we can offer a few insights.
UFC 262, May 15th
UFC 262 remains so far the only pay-per-view event announced without a title fight on its card. The only possible fighter who could lead such an event would be Conor McGregor.
The Irish superstar is more than likely to end his trilogical fight Dustin Poirier. Both fighters agreed, and the fight is currently under construction.
The fight is expected to happen sooner rather than later, with May being the target month of the conflict. UFC 262 is scheduled for May 15.
The current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov seems determined to continue his retirement, leaving the weight class without the ability to defend for the title.
Putting Gaethje vs. Chandler as McGregor’s main event against Poirier at UFC 262 and making both fights for the title eliminator would certainly have enough interest to justify the price of pay per review.
However, there is another date that could work and produce the same effect. And maybe even solve some other problem the UFC currently has with the lightweight division.
UFC Fight Night 191, May 22nd
What about Charles Oliveira? The Brazilian, currently third in the lightweight rankings, seems to be being left out of the picture by the UFC.
Another promotion option would be McGregor’s reservation against Poirier for UFC 262, promising the winner of the trilogy will fight for the belt.
Then, a week later, at UFC Fight Night 191 on May 22, Gaeth vs. Chandler and Oliveira vs. Makhachev (or another available best lightweight candidate) could run the event as if competing in the 155-pound championship quarterfinals.
The UFC could agree on a match winner in both fights, making it the elimination of the title in a fight for Poirier or McGregor for the belt at the end of the year.