Former interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Gaethje is aware his time in the sport of MMA will come to a close over the next few years
“It’s just the fact of the matter. I would say by 37, I would like to not be doing this anymore. I’m 34 now. So, two, or three years is a long time. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that long.
“I’ve been doing this for 12 to 15 years. So ultimately it is the backend of my career in this sport. That’s the train of thought that I have, we’re so emotional after these fights. But that was my thought process, I’m not gonna be here forever. So I’m glad you guys are here to enjoy this with me.”
This is relatively saddening news to hear, there isn’t a fight fan out there that doesn’t love watching Justin Gaethje fights.
However, he is 34 years old, turning 35 in November, and he’s been in a lot of wars throughout the years.
These wars began back in his WSOF days, primarily in his back-to-back title fights with BKFC champion Luis Palomino, both of which he won via knockout. Gaethje was the five-time defending lightweight champion that never lost his belt in a fight in WSOF. Instead, he vacated it with a 17-0 record to join the UFC.
Since then, Gaethje has given us unbelievable battles opposing the likes of Michael Johnson (W, TKO), Eddie Alvarez (L, KO), Dustin Poirier (L, TKO), Michael Chandler (W, UD), and Rafael Fiziev (W, MD). He also ran straight through the likes of James Vick (KO), Edson Barboza (KO), Donald Cerrone (TKO), and fellow former interim champion Tony Ferguson (TKO).
Barboza is a kickboxing champion that went 25-3 in the sport, Cerrone is a kickboxing champion and went 28-0-1 in the sport, and Fiziev is also a kickboxing champion that went 39-8 prior to his MMA journey. He beat all of them and stopped two in the first round. What’s more, Ferguson was on a 12-fight win streak going into their fight, which was the longest in division history at the time.
Then we have his losses: He was winning both the Alvarez and Poirier fights up until he got stopped late in each fight, he was absolutely dominated by Khabib Nurmagomedov, and he nearly KO’d Charles Oliveira a number of times in their short but stellar encounter. That was one of the greatest one-round fights you’ll ever see.
Gaethje has fought for the UFC 11 times thus far, and he’s been awarded 11 post-fight bonuses.
As it stands today, Justin Gaethje is 24-4 as a professional, a whopping 19 of those wins coming via knockout.
It will be a sad day when Gaethje retires, so let’s appreciate him while he’s here.
On the bright side, there have been talks of him rematching Dustin Poirier in the near future. That was such a one-sided fight, Poirier’s leg was dead in the first 90 seconds. Gaethje just continued picking him apart with those vicious leg kicks of his up until he was stopped 33 seconds into round four.
As of next, Gaethje has welcomed the opportunity to face the aforenoted, Poirier in a rematch — potentially in an end-of-summer re-run.
Who wouldn’t want to see that rematch?
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