Justin Gaethje: Dustin Poirier has ‘done so much in this sport,’ can’t complain whenever he gets UFC title shot

Justin Gaethje has no bitterness whatsoever towards Dustin Poirier for getting the next title shot.

Gaethje (25-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC) knocked out Poirier last July at UFC 291 to position himself as No. 1 contender, but opted to take another fight over waiting. He was knocked out by Max Holloway at UFC 300 in April. On the same night, Arman Tsarukyan defeated Charles Oliveira.

Poirier (30-8 MMA, 22-7 UFC) took out Benoit Saint Denis at UFC 299 in March, and wound up getting the next title shot after Tsarukyan couldn’t make a quick turnaround. “The Diamond” challenges lightweight champion Islam Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) in the UFC 302 headliner June 1 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

“I think under the circumstances, he deserves it,” Gaethje said on Poirier in an interview with Title Sports Network. “The two contenders that came, Max Holloway and Arman Tsarukyan both just fought.

“Tsarukyan wasn’t (willing to turn around quickly, so) Poirier is the next best option. He’s done so much in this sport that you can’t really ever complain when he gets a title shot.”

Both Gaethje and Poirier were submitted by Makhachev’s mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov in title fights. While “The Highlight” doesn’t view Makhachev and Nurmagomedov’s styles as identical, he says cardio will be key for Poirier.

“Well, we’ve both been in there with Khabib already, so we have an idea,” Gaethje said. “They’re obviously not the same fighter. They don’t fight the same styles. But they are both really heavy grappling. You’ve really just got to trust in your ability to grapple for the whole fight.

“If your cardio is there and you know you can survive those attacks, then eventually you’re going to get back to the feet and be able to cause damage if you’re in good enough shape.”

For more on the cards, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 302.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie