We could probably end it there and not many would argue.
There are few monikers as appropriate and accurate as “The Highlight.” If there’s one thing almost guaranteed when Gaethje enters the cage, it’s a highlight, or one, or two, or three…
In 26 professional fights, the Arizona native has had his hand raised 23 times, 19 of which came after knockouts. Among those to have fallen, both figuratively and literally, at the hands of Gaethje are Tony Ferguson, Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza, James Vick, and Michael Johnson.
After becoming the inaugural WSOF lightweight titleholder and defending the belt five times, Gaethje signed with the MMA leader. In nine Octagon outings, “The Highlight” has left with a bonus after eight of them. Not many fighters have the ability to effectively secure a bonus each fight before even entering the cage.
Gaethje – Excitement Personified
With all those accolades in mind, Gaethje has come to a simple conclusion: when it comes to excitement, no one comes close.
“I’m 23-3, 19 knockouts, all the bonuses. I’m the most exciting fighter that has ever stepped foot in that Octagon. I know for a fact,” Gaethje said in an interview with ESPN MMA’s Megan Olivi.
“That’s who I am. I’m a show off. I’m a performer. That’s what I’ve been since a little child. I’ve performed—these wrestling mats (in the University of Northern Colorado’s wrestling room) are boring, but when my match came up, everybody was there, everybody was screaming, these matchups were louder than they’d ever been. It’s who I’ve been since day one.”
If anyone disagreed with that sentiment before Gaethje’s last appearance, they certainly didn’t after. At UFC 268, “The Highlight” threw down with Michael Chandler in the consensus 2021 Fight of the Year. As he often does, Gaethje emerged victorious from the barnburner, this time on the scorecards.
Now, Gaethje will look to thrill audiences once again when he fights for the lightweight gold at UFC 274 tonight. If he manages to win the title, we may well have the most exciting champion in UFC history on our hands.
Do you agree with Justin Gaethje? Is he the most exciting fighter to have ever fought inside the Octagon?