Benoit Saint-Denis knows how things work in the MMA world. With lightweight champ Islam Makhachev and No. 1-ranked fighter Charles Oliveira probably getting a rematch, “God of War” is trying his luck to fight No. 2-ranked Justin Gaethje. Despite being ranked No. 11, Saint-Denis is confident about his chance, especially after his recent success at UFC 295.
The French made a success last week after defeating Matt Frevola by delivering a head kick that led to his KO win. This extends his winning streak to five and his confidence to challenge other fighters in the ranking. After his fight, Saint-Denis can be recalled mentioning names he wants to fight in the future. That includes the champ and pound-for-pound king Makhachev. The fighter also gave the names of Dustin Poirier and Mateusz Gamrot.
According to the fighter, Poirier is a good choice after losing to Justin Gaethje in July. As Saint-Denis noted, “The Diamond” needs “to fight a guy behind him because he’s on the loss,” suggesting the No. 3-ranked fighter would pick him. Nonetheless, in his most recent statement, Saint-Denis changed his aim and is now aiming for the person who defeated Poirier: “The Highlight.”
“It is a fight I want to have,” Saint-Denis told The MMA Hour. “It’s at the top of the list, of course. It’s not his fault, but I do believe they are going to make [Islam] Makhachev against [Charles] Oliviera. Gaethje is a warrior, he likes activity, but he will have to fight again and big dates are coming next year, and he has already been defeating Dustin Poirier, he has been defeating a lot of tough guys, and I do believe this is a fight for the BMF [title] and he the chin to make it a war. Because you can have tough guys, but if they don’t have the chin, with me, it’s not going to make it [into a war].
Saint-Denis said that his main target now is those who currently don’t have booked fights in the division. Oliveira and Makhachev are expected to have a rematch, Beneil Dariush is set to face Arman Tsarukyan in December, and Michael Chandler might face Conor McGregor. That means his closest way to reach the top is through Gaethje. Many would call the callout of Saint-Denis overly aggressive and ambitious, but the French fighter believes he could give what Gaethje wants in a fight.
“I do believe he’s interested in tough fights and in making a point in the division,” Saint-Denis added. “He will have to make a point and he has a lot of options. He’s better ranked guy, he’s a veteran, he’s a star, but I do believe it could be a fight that excites him as well.”