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Morning Report: Henry Cejudo wants Justin Gaethje added to UFC 288, suggests title eliminator vs. Beneil Dariush

UFC 286: Gaethje v Fiziev
Justin Gaethje
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Henry Cejudo has the solution to bolster UFC 288.

The UFC’s next pay-per-view event on May 6 took a hit this past weekend when it was announced that the co-main event between top lightweight contenders Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush was off. Oliveira sustained an injury and the matchup is now being targeted for UFC 289 on June 10 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, according to Dariush.

Meanwhile, UFC President Dana White shared that the promotion wants to replace it with another big fight and is working on doing so. As one half of the card’s main event, the former dual-division champion Cejudo feels he knows the perfect play.

“You guys want to have a great co-main event on a great card ... why not Justin Gaethje?” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “I guarantee you Justin Gaethje will step in. Do him vs. Dariush, winner gets a title shot. There’s something that needs to be done and I do believe people need to do something to really step up if they really want to be that next person because if not, a whole damn year goes by and then you’re thinking about who they’re gonna fight next.

“As a competitor, if I was in that position I’d be the first person to raise my hand. ‘Hey, I’m here to step up.’”

The timing for a potential 155-pound title shot lines up well with Cejudo’s suggestion. It’s expected that lightweight titleholder Islam Makhachev will return for his second defense in October for the promotion's return to Abu Dhabi. Until then, the No. 1 contender spot needs to be sorted.

Dariush already has a strong case as is with an eight-fight winning streak, and was supposed to clash with Makhachev in February of last year. At the same time, the Oliveira fight has been attempted before as well. The first time was to take place in October 2020 until Oliveira withdrew from injury.

“Oliveira may not even be ready for June. If he wasn’t ready for May, what makes you think he’s gonna be ready for June?” Cejudo said. “Whatever injury it may be, you gotta take those chances, dude.”

Cejudo looks to reclaim the bantamweight title at UFC 288 when he challenges champion Aljamain Sterling. Last seen defeating the division’s greatest fighter of all time Dominick Cruz in May 2020 via second-round TKO, Cejudo, 36, remains confident as ever and believes he’ll be even better after ending his layoff.

UFC 288’s main event competitors have already bantered back-and-forth plenty and are an intriguing stylistic matchup. Ultimately, fans and even the boss himself want just a little more meat on the New Jersey event’s bone. It doesn’t get much better than arguably MMA’s most exciting fighter, “The Highlight.”

“Whether it’s Belal Muhammad or Gilbert Burns or damn Colby Covington — Covington’s already gonna get that shot — you do something. You make something exciting to really make the fight fans excited for UFC 288,” Cejudo said. “I would prefer Gaethje. He’s just fought not too long ago but he didn’t take that much damage from [Rafael Fiziev]. Then again, the way he trains, he trains so damn hard that I’m not sure if he’s ready. But if I had to pick somebody to really step in, it would be Justin Gaethje and what he’s shown and what he’s proven.”


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I’m still in the camp that UFC 288 isn’t as bad as it's been made out to be after losing Oliveira vs. Dariush. But getting one of these types of fights added? Of course! Why the hell not? We all know Gaethje, unfortunately, won’t be filling in though. Especially not against Dariush who he’s openly said he doesn’t want to fight and I’d imagine even less so in this situation.

Thanks for reading!



Which fight would you prefer to see added to UFC 288?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Justin Gaethje vs. Beneil Dariush
    (231 votes)
  • 50%
    Belal Muhammad vs. Gilbert Burns
    (240 votes)
471 votes total Vote Now

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