Monday, December 5, 2022

Justin Gaethje Reveals Why He Doesn’t Utilize Wrestling In UFC

Interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Gaethje has explained why he doesn’t often utilize his wrestling skills in the UFC.

Gaethje is known for his exciting fighting style. Gaethje has yet to leave the Octagon without receiving a bonus at the end of the night. In seven UFC bouts, Gaethje has received five “Fight of the Night” bonuses and four “Performance of the Night” bonuses. It may come as a surprise to some, but Gaethje was actually an NCAA Division I wrestler.

Justin Gaethje Explains Ditching Wrestling In UFC

Gaethje’s style has certainly gotten him extra cash. Many fans feel that “The Highlight” would make things much easier on himself if he utilized his wrestling skills. During an appearance on Brendan Schaub‘s Food Truck Diaries, Gaethje explained why he doesn’t grapple much despite having the background (h/t Bloody Elbow).

“I was always against it [wrestling] because I was gonna get tired,” Gaethje said. “I walked off a seven-minute match — almost every time — almost unable to walk.

“The way I wrestle or the way I do anything is not to preserve energy. I don’t wrestle to preserve energy.”

Gaethje is expected to take on UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in a title unification bout. Nurmagomedov planned to return as soon as July but his father suffered health issues. As a result, the new targeted time frame is September.

If there’s ever a time where Gaethje would need to utilize his wrestling to at least defend, it would be against Nurmagomedov. “The Eagle’s” game plan has never been a secret. He aims to take his opponents down, beat on them, and then submit them. Still, Nurmagomedov has gone undefeated with a pro MMA record of 28-0.

Gaethje is riding a four-fight winning streak. In that span, he’s beaten Tony Ferguson, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Edson Barboza, and James Vick. All of those bouts ended in a knockout or TKO. When Gaethje defeated Ferguson to become the interim UFC lightweight champion, he snapped “El Cucuy’s” 12-fight winning streak.