This weekend, Justin Gaethje will take on James Vick in the main event of UFC Lincoln. It’s an important fight for “The Highlight” who, after going 18-0 to start his career, has lost his last two fights in a row. A loss wouldn’t jeopardize his standing with the UFC - in his three fights with the organization he has won three Fight of the Night awards - but it could portend the end of his MMA career in general.
Speaking with MMANytt recently, Gaethje said that while it’s all well and good to be praised for putting on exciting fights, at the end of the day he is in this to be champion, and when that is no longer the case, he will hang up his gloves and walk away.
“100-percent. When that’s not my goal, I will retire,” Gaethje said. “I want to be the best. I want to be the best in the world.”
Gaethje only arrived in the UFC last year after an extended run as the World Series of Fighting lightweight champion. After his impressive comeback in his debut against Michael Johnson, Gaethje put on Fight of the Year contenders against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, but came up just short in both. Gaethje says the losses were learning experiences for him, helping him get acclimated to the pressure and challenges of fighting on the biggest stage in MMA.
“The UFC, they are the hype machine, fighting on a UFC card there is nothing like it,” Gaethje said. “Experience is a hell of a trait to have and now with some experience under my belt, it will do a lot of things for me.
“I’m going to be more comfortable in a sense and I’m going to be more vigilant in not getting comfortable in the fight. That comes with experience so yeah, I’m excited to out there and do it again.”
Gaethje will need that experience this weekend as he takes on one of the lightweight division’s hottest contenders in James Vick. Vick has gone 9-1 in the UFC including winning his last four fights. “The Texecutioner” isn’t just a sturdy test inside the cage though, Vick has been pulling no punches in the trash talk leading up to their contest this weekend, calling Gaethje “the Homer Simpson of MMA” and claiming that Gaethje has been “exposed” since coming to the UFC. But Saturday night, Gaethje says Vick will get to see first-hand who the real world-class fighter is.
“If you watch the fights, you have to understand how close either one of us were to getting the ‘W’ and finishing that fight,” Gaethje said. “For James Vick to sit here and say I’m a ‘B’ league fighter and I don’t deserve the accolades that I’m getting — the bonuses, the main events — they guy just doesn’t get it.
“I’m painting a pretty clear picture of what pure effort can achieve in this sport and if you don’t want to pay attention, that’s not my problem.”
Wow. In shocking scene, MMA fighter Melquizael Costa choked unconscious for 90 seconds: ‘I saw death so close.’
KO of the Week.
Always watch BJJ Scout.
Walk down memory lane.
Obviously Fight Talk. Discussing UFC Lincoln and Gallagher’s KO loss.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
The biggest news of yesterday. Ouch.
This Tweet is elite.
ball securty is job securty pic.twitter.com/3Wmw80Nmzj— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) August 22, 2018
Looks like he may get some swag out of it though.
Yikes... DM us your info, Bryce. We got you— MeUndies (@MeUndies) August 21, 2018
There's only one fight that makes sense while we wait Max vs.Ortega.— Renato Moicano (@moicanoufc) August 21, 2018
Moicano vs. Aldo to determine who will fight for the title. You're a legend @josealdojunior, but it’s my TIME!!!... I’m ready!!! @danawhite @seanshelby @ufc @MMAFighting @MMAjunkie @ConanSilveira @Alexdavismma
So @ACB_League won’t release me and now I can’t make a fucking living,I have done nothing but add value to there European tour and now they treat me like this,absolute fucking joke !— Robert Whiteford (@Flyinjudoka) August 20, 2018
For 8 years I had a goal of fighting in the UFC. Unfortunately once I made it there, in my 2 fights I did not perform to a standard I was proud of and now I have been released from my contract. I’m only 26 years old and still have plenty of years ahead of me to reach my peak. I will do my best to learn from my mistakes, and will work my way back into the UFC where I know I belong. Who knows, next time it might be at at different weight class...
So much beef.
The other shoe has dropped.
@Amanda_Leoa said she doesn’t have any household responsibilities because, she “put a ring in it.” Is that how that works?— Nina Ansaroff (@NinaAnsaroff) August 21, 2018
Quite the commitment.
I somehow saw this poster and WOW. “18 combined KOs” huh? 15 of those are Gaethje! This is absurd.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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