Exclusive | Justin Gaethje rules out a transition to boxing: “Boxing is way more dangerous”

Justin Gaethje, Boxing
Mandatory Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Justin Gaethje doesn’t see himself entering the boxing ring anytime soon.

The UFC lightweight contender spoke with LowkickMMA’s Makoa Goble about boxing, Trevor Wittman’s coaching and his thoughts on the Charles Oliveira-Islam Makhachev matchup. 

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Gaethje started his mixed martial arts career in August 2008. Since then, he has been involved in numerous slugfests throughout the years. He is widely known for the amount of violence associated with his fights. His savage approach inside the octagon has been reflected in the 19 knockouts gained in his career. 

While speaking with Goble, the 33-year-old reiterated his passion for MMA. Gaethje is satisfied with the amount of violence that cage fighting brings to the table but admits that boxing has an edge in danger. 

My sport is the most violent but it is nowhere near the most dangerous,” Gaethje said. “I’m good with what I do. Boxing is way more dangerous than what I do.”

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Justin Gaethje Has A Second Passion: Giving Back To The Community

Despite not being interested in a boxing career, Gaethje has made it his mission to give back to the boxing community in Denver. He has played a part in the rebuilding process for Topeira Boxing Club. Owner Joaquin Romero was killed in a hit-and-run earlier this year. The UFC and Modelo partnered up to help the gym rebuild by adding new equipment and supplies.

They’re doing a lot of stuff, they’re handing out a lot of bags. We’re putting up all new gloves for all the students..getting the bags up, they’re going to paint the walls but yeah the whole team was just in there working…With where I come from and my background and what my aspirations were before I even started fighting, which was human services social work, it’s the perfect avenue. I get to team up with huge businesses like Modelo, like UFC…they get the ball rolling.”

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In MMA, ‘The Highlight’ has found success in training under the Trevor Wittman regime for the past decade. Wittman is known for being one of the best coaches in MMA. Along with Gaethje, he coaches other top stars in Kamaru Usman and Rose Namajunas. 

The collaboration between Gaethje and Wittman has proved beneficial for the 155-pounder. In 2020, he showcased his boxing and beat Tony Ferguson at UFC 248 to become interim lightweight champion. Despite title fight losses against Khabib Nurmogomedov and Charles Oliveira, Gaethje is still at the top of the division. The Arizona native spoke highly of his time at ONX Sports with his long-time head coach.

[Trevor Wittman’s] mind is special. The way that he is able to teach…the processes that he goes through are so simple. They’re the basics. I’ve been working with the basics for the last 13 years with him. You have to be coachable, you have to be athletic. If you are…then he can make you exactly what you need to be in this sport and that’s very dangerous.

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Gaethje’s former opponent Charles Oliveira will take on Islam Makhachev for the interim lightweight title later this month at UFC 280. The former D1 college wrestler is rooting for Oliveira to win and keep the fight standing but expects Makhachev to pressure him on the ground.

The main part of that statement is going to be Oliveira’s ability not to be submitted by Makhachev. If he doesn’t get submitted, then most likely he’s on his back for three rounds or more and Makhachev wins a decision. If you know anything about this, that’s what you think is supposed to happen but if you watch Kamaru [Usman’s] fight then you know this is the best sport in the world because anything can happen at any given moment.