At the ceremonial weigh-ins on Friday, Gaethje engaged in an intense faceoff with Oliveira as the fighters prepare to do battle in the main event from Phoenix. The staredown happened just hours after Oliveira hit the scale at 155.5 pounds — half a pound over the lightweight limit — and he became the first champion in UFC history to be stripped of the title for missing weight.
In the aftermath of Oliveira failing to make championship weight, Gaethje was informed that he can still claim the lightweight title with a win on Saturday night.
“Same mission,” Gaethje shouted to a raucous crowd. “That s*** doesn’t matter. It’s not going to affect one thing tomorrow night. I’m here to knock him out. I was here to knock him out before he didn’t make weight.
“I f****** think it’s ridiculous but here I am. I’m going to knock his ass out. I promise you.”
This will be Gaethje’s second attempt at becoming UFC champion after he came up short in his previous bid after losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov by submission back in 2020.
Meanwhile, Oliveira will essentially be competing in a No. 1 contender’s bout after he was stripped of the championship for missing weight.
UFC officials said on Friday that should Oliveira walk away victorious on Saturday night, he would then compete for the undisputed lightweight title against a different contender in his next fight.
When he addressed the crowd, Oliveira didn’t offer up any excuses but rather declared that belt or no belt, the real champion will be fighting and winning at UFC 274.
“These things happen,” Oliveira said. “You can’t explain God. The champion has a name and it’s Charles Oliveira and I’m going to shock the world tomorrow.”