Justin Gaethje
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Latest victim of Khabib
LightweightUFC
October 24, 2020
Gaethje came out short in his quest for the undisputed UFC Lightweight Championship, falling to Khabib Nurmagomedov via technical submission (arm triangle) at UFC 254 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
ANALYSIS
This outcome was not the result of anything Gaethje did incorrectly. He was just going up against a guy who is clearly the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at the moment and might be legitimately unbeatable at 155 pounds. Gaethje looked considerably less comfortable than he did in his victory over Tony Ferguson this past May. The reason for that was the constant pressure of Khabib. Gaethje landed with some leg kicks and a few wild counter strikes, but the steady pressure of Khabib severely limited his offensive opportunities. Justin might be the second best lightweight in the world, but the gap between Khabib and the rest of the division gets wider by the day. The soon-to-be 32-year-old Gaethje will be back stronger and better than ever in short order. It wouldn't be a shock to see if next fight once again be for the title given Khabib's shocking retirement announcement following Saturday's victory.
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Locked in for main event
LightweightUFC
October 23, 2020
Gaethje successfully weighed in at 155 pounds Friday morning and is approximately a (+255) betting underdog for Saturday's lightweight championship fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
ANALYSIS
Gaethje looked like a whole new fighter is last time out against Tony Ferguson, showing a bit more patience and precise technique en route to being crowned the interim lightweight champion. He threw that belt to the ground in his post-fight interview, however, and the real one will finally be on the line Saturday afternoon. Fight fans who have seen Gaethje over the years are all familiar with his aggressive style. He'll press forward and often swing with reckless abandon, which might prove costly against a fighter like Khabib who times his takedown entries better than anyone else on the roster. While Gaethje has shown little of his wrestling abilities to date, he still enters this matchup with collegiate All-American wrestling credentials, which could help him stay off his back against Nurmagomedov. The next fighter to successfully defend Khabib's takedowns will be the first, but if Gaethje can do it and keep the fight standing for prolonged periods of time, there's a path to victory here.
Will face Khabib at UFC 255
LightweightUFC
July 28, 2020
UFC president Dana White announced Tuesday that Gaethje (22-2-0) will take on Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0-0) in a lightweight bout scheduled for Oct. 24 at UFC 255, Simon Head of USA Today reports.
ANALYSIS
After Nurmagomedov elected to withdraw from his fight with Tony Ferguson in April at UFC 249, Gaethje stepped in and turned in the most electrifying performance of his career, winning the bout via TKO in the fifth round and claiming the interim title in the process. He'll now get the chance to test himself about Nurmagomedov, who returns to the Octagon for the first time in more than a year after the recent death of his father and coach, Abdulmanap, prompted the Russian champion to forgo a matchup with Gaethje this summer. Gaethje will carry a four-fight winning streak into the Oct. 24 event, which will be held at a yet-to-be-determined venue.
Khabib fight to happen before end of 2020
LightweightUFC
July 18, 2020
Ali Abdelaziz, the manager of Khabib Nurmagomedov, stated Saturday that his client anticipates fighting Gaethje before the year ends, The Daily Mail reports.
ANALYSIS
After Gaethje took down Tony Ferguson via TKO in the UFC Lightweight Championship on May 9, it was only fitting that his next opponent for the title be Nurmagomedov. After his father passed away earlier in July due to Covid-19 complications, Nurmagomedov announced that he would be stepping away from the UFC for some time to mourn his loss. There was no clarity as to when he'd be returning until his manager made the announcement Saturday. It is now up to UFC President Dana White to establish a date and venue for the fight. Gaethje will soon have his chance to defend his belt and end Nurmagomedov's perfect 28-0-0 MMA record.
Shocks MMA world, Khabib next
LightweightUFC
May 9, 2020
Gaethje won the interim UFC Lightweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Tony Ferguson via TKO (strikes) at 3:39 of Round 5 at UFC 249 in Jacksonville.
ANALYSIS
It was the best and most complete performance of Gaethje's career. That includes all his fights in the UFC and his time with what was the former WSOF. He pounded Ferguson over and over and did so in an educated and economical fashion. This fight would have been over in the early rounds if it wasn't for Ferguson's super-human toughness. He actually never gave it up, as referee Herb Dean was finally forced to stop the fight in order to protect Tony from himself. Yes, Gaethje absorbed punishment from Ferguson, but he wasn't reckless about it. He appeared to make a concerted effort to fight smarter and he admitted in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan that he needed to change and adapt in order to be successful. He deserves full marks and then some for doing what is necessary in order to secure the biggest victory of his life. Next up for Gaethje is an undisputed title fight against pound-for-pound king Khabib Nurmagomedov. He's going to be a significant underdog when that one happens, but maybe he has a chance given his new willingness to adapt to his circumstances. Furthermore, Gaethje was awarded both Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night bonuses in this one, giving him nine total post-fight bonuses despite only having seven UFC bouts.
UFC 249 bout rescheduled for May 9
LightweightUFC
April 24, 2020
Gaethje is set to face Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on the rescheduled date of May 9, Shaheen Al-Shatti of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
Gaethje was originally scheduled to fight Ferguson on short notice in early April, but he'll get a slightly longer opportunity to prepare this time around as the replacement for Khabib Nurmagomedov in a bout for the interim lightweight belt before Khabib gets a chance to defend his title later in the year. Gaethje has taken home victories early via KO/TKO in each of his last three bouts, finishing each of them in the first round. He may find it difficult to have similar success against Ferguson, whose only UFC loss came at the hand of Michael Johnson back in 2012. Oddsmakers peg Gaethje as approximately a (+145) betting underdog, similar to where he was sitting for the originally-scheduled matchup.