Rafael Fiziev loss would make it hard for Justin Gaethje to regain UFC lightweight title contention

Daniel Cormier says a loss to Rafael Fiziev would be a major setback for Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje (23-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) faces Fiziev (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) in the UFC 286 co-main event March 18 in London. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.

The former interim lightweight champion has been at the top of the division since joining the UFC roster, but after falling short in his second attempt at a title against Charles Oliveira in May 2022, Cormier thinks the fight is a must-win for Gaethje.

“Justin Gaethje is a kill or be killed guy,” Cormier said on his ESPN show, “DC & RC.” “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.”

Fiziev hasn’t lost since he dropped his UFC debut to Magomed Mustafaev – the lone loss on his record. The muay Thai specialist has knocked out three of his past five opponents and most recently starched former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos in his first main event at UFC on ESPN 39.


Twitter reacts to Rafael Fiziev’s knockout of Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on ESPN 39


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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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