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Justin Gaethje to Michael Chandler ahead of UFC 268: ‘There’s something about your face that makes me want to punch you’

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UFC 254: Khabib v Gaethje Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Justin Gaethje doesn’t dislike Michael Chandler as a person, but he feels he’ll have enough to get him to that place when they meet in the octagon later this year.

Gaethje and Chandler are expected to meet at UFC 268 in November at a venue and location yet to be officially announced. The promotion’s initial plan was to host the event in New York at Madison Square Garden, but due to new COVID-19 guidelines in the state for individuals to show proof of vaccination for indoor events, the plans may change.

As far as the fight goes, both guys are excited about it and appeared on the promotion’s UFC 265 weigh-in show on Friday. Gaethje reacted to the booking, and also expressed hope that the fight between he and Chandler takes place anywhere else.

“The fans, the energy, the chaos—whether they want me to win or lose and it’s better when they want me to lose because it’s more hectic—that chaos is something I’ve missed,” Gaethje said.

“I don’t think it’ll be in New York City. It’ll probably be in Texas, or something way sweeter than New York City. New York City sucks. Anywhere outside of that place and we’ll be good to go.”

Gaethje will look to get back into the top of the lightweight championship conversation after suffering a submission loss in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s final fight at UFC 254 in October. “The Highlight” began 2020 by capturing the interim 155-pound title with a fifth-round TKO win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.

Chandler will also hope to get boosted back into a title shot after getting stopped by Charles Oliveira at UFC 262 in May for the vacant championship. The former Bellator champion made a lot of noise in his octagon debut when he put away Dan Hooker in just over two minutes at UFC 257 in January.

With both fighters speaking to each other on Friday, Chandler was showing respect to the former World Series of Fighting champion, while Gaethje seemed to play the proverbial fight game a little more. While both fighters agree the bout has big time potential to entertain fans, Gaethje will be looking to find that little bit extra to motivate him.

“Nov. 6, I’m gonna try and kill... kill is a very harsh word, we’ve got families, but I’m gonna tell myself that he’s gonna try and kill me so I can go to the most primal place that exists for a human, and that’s fight or flight, life or death,” Gaethje stated. “I’m excited to fight somebody that I don’t like. It’s been awhile. I have no reason not to like you but there’s something about your face that makes me want to punch you. It’s the little smirk.”