Sist vi fick se Justin Gaethje i oktagonen så lyckades han ta sig förbi Edson Barboza via knockout i första ronden. Vinsten var hans andra raka sedan han erfarit karriärens två första förluster i rad mot Dustin Poirier och Eddie Alvarez. Enligt Gaethje innebar de två förlusterna att han var tvungen att ändra sin strategi för kommande matcher, vilket i sin tur ledde till de vinster han sedan dess har lyckats samla på sig. Detta berättade han under det senaste avsnittet av “The MMA Hour”.
It was two losses, so I was able to go back and go back to the drawing board, man, I never went back to the drawing board. Every time I won, you just had to keep building on what was successful. That’s how this game works. It’s like a roller-coaster. When you’re up, you’re up; when you’re down, you’re down. So you’ve got to ride those waves, and I was having so much success with the style that I was choosing to go out there and fight, because through my seven amateur fights and then through those first 18 professional fights in a row, I went out there with one goal, one intention — to create chaos — and I was 25-0. So you can say stuff all you want, but there’s no reason I would’ve ever tried to change that.
Gaethje fortsatte med att prata om en motståndare som han nu siktar på att ta sig an härnäst, ingen mindre än lättviktsmästaren Khabib Nurmagomedov. Gaethje tror nämligen att hans egna brottning är en av de delar som gör att han kommer bli den att ge Nurmagomedov dennes första förlust.
I think my wrestling credentials alone would benefit me so much in that fight, my ability to stop the takedown. And I’m very confident in my standup, I’m confident in my coach and the gameplan that we would come together with and go out there and execute. I think with my athletic ability I’m a tough out for anybody. My ability to scramble, create scrambles. We’re sweating more in MMA, I’m more slippery than people wearing singlets and wrestling in college or any wrestling match. So all those factors come into play when it comes to that grappling. And yeah, I’m not going to go in there to wrestle with him. I’m going in there to stop takedowns, and that’s what I’ve been good at this whole time. And in the clinch, I throw hard shots.
Gaethje berättade även att om en match mot Nurmagomedov skulle vara det som väntar honom härnäst så kommer han att vara redo att brottas i 25 minuter om det blir det som krävs.
Who knows, man. My wrestling coach is Ben Cherrington, 2006 national champion from Boise State, NCAA. So I work with him twice a week, and if I was to get that fight, my training camp would be based around being in shape. I’m not saying I could beat him in a wrestling match, but a wrestling match is what I did my whole life. He’s not going to go out there and dominate me in a wrestling match. What it comes down to is my cardio being up to par with his, and the ability for me to grapple in as many situations and get into as many scrambles as he’s able to get into, because that’s where he breaks people. He gets you in the scrambles and you get tired. That is some tiring stuff. That’s why I avoid it, because I don’t want to get tired — I want to try to knock him out. You can’t pin people in a fight and I’m trying to get out of there as soon as possible. So yeah, that would be my focus. I would and will focus on that when I fight Khabib. I’m starting to do it now, so that when I do get that fight, I can wrestle for 25 minutes if I need to.
Gaethje besegrade Barboza via knockout i första ronden på UFC Philadelphia som ägde rum den 30:e mars i år i Philadelphia, USA.