Justin Gaethje will retire in FIVE fights because he refuses to change his mentality.
“I didn’t get in this sport to win or lose,” Gaethje told reporters post-fight at UFC on FOX 29 in Glendale, AZ this past Saturday, after his war with Dustin Poirier. “It’s an entertainment factor for me and I will be known as and remembered as one of the most entertaining fighters that ever did it. I’m content with what just happened, as stupid and crazy as that sounds. I felt so comfortable in there, so good. The best I’ve ever felt.”
Justin Gaethje won’t change his game plan in the octagon because he’s stupid and crazy. That’s not a hot take; Gaethje literally said that during the media scrum after the Fight of the Year contender he took part in last night.
“If you don’t see me fight live you will regret it when I’m done and it’s not going to be very long – I’ve got about five (fights) left.”
What’s Gaethje’s really trying to convey here is: I won’t get paid as much as I deserve unless I fight a hyper violent style that no one else is willing to endure.
He’s right. He’ll make more money in the shortest amount of time if he doesn’t change anything. He’ll also diminish faster than BJ Penn on the Frankie Edgar train.
In his three-fight UFC tenure, Justin Gaethje has accumulated an extra $200,000 in stellar showings against Michael Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, and Dustin Poirier. For those of you keeping score at home – that’s four $50,000 bonuses in three UFC fights, all of which came against top 5 ranked lightweight opponents. Gaethje didn’t even win two of those fights, but definitely got paid like a winner.
Think about it – even if Justin Gaethje isn’t good enough to win a single fight in his next five appearances, he will earn $110,000 per fight (current deal is ~$100k show/~$100k win) plus $50,000 in win bonuses. Normally a $50,000 performance bonus isn’t guaranteed, but history has shown us that Gaethje actually earns $66,666.67 dollars in bonuses per UFC fight.
$166,666.67 plus a few thousand dollars per the UFC Athlete Outfitting Policy for a loss isn’t bad when the bottom line is $100,000-some-odd.
It’s been speculated that Gaethje would match up well against Khabib Nurmagomedov, but he’s not getting anywhere near that fight without at least a pair of wins over a top 5 names. Right now the loser of the Kevin Lee vs. Edson Barboza makes the most sense if the violent one is looking to get back on track. Hell, he’ll probably end up facing the winner, which will be determined this Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 128.
If the end goal for Justin Gaethje is the UFC Lightweight Championship, he’s just as stupid as he says he is, because he won’t get there without changing his style.
If the end goal is making what’s left of his career as profitable as possible regardless of win/loss ratio, he’s definitely onto something.
Other fighters who aren’t as exciting between the eight parts of cage might have been destined for free agency after two straight losses in the WME/IMG era of the UFC, but not Justin Gaethje. He’ll have a job with the UFC as long as he stays healthy given his must-see approach to fighting.
Over the next few days as the actual ratings for UFC on Fox will trickle in, and while Dave Meltzer of MMAFighting reports that UFC on Fox 29: Poirier vs. Gaethje is trending the fourth lowest number in UFC on Fox history at 1.78 million viewers, that doesn’t factor in the viewership for the main event – and viewership likely grew in number until Gaethje wilted in the fourth round.
Gaethje absorbed 174 significant strikes in a little over three rounds on Saturday night and is expected to earn $163,500 in total for all that punishment. As MMAJunkie reported today, Poirier will receive $220,000 ($50,000 performance bonus included) and an additional $20,000 as part of the UFC Outfitting Policy. Justin Gaethje earned nearly $940 per boop absorbed.
What’s notable though, is that Gaethje’s paychecks don’t get cut in half with losses – like normal fighters would, that guy’s not normal. He fights a violent enough style that 30.58% of his last UFC paycheck was in bonuses.