Justin Gaethje feels like the odd man out at lightweight currently, despite being the most exciting fighter in the division. But he’s willing to wait and be patient until the right opponent comes along.
Las Vegas, NV — Ahead of the World MMA Awards, where Justin Gaethje was nominated for Fight of the Year alongside Dustin Poirier (spoiler: he didn’t win), ‘The Highlight’ took a moment to discuss his future, Hall of Fame potential, and what comes next in the stacked lightweight division.
And in short, he told Cageside Press, his mission is “to create a great legacy.” So, when asked whether he expects to someday wind up in the UFC Hall of Fame for one of his memorable wars in the octagon (this year that honor goes to Clay Guida and Diego Sanchez), Gaethje expained that “I would rather have all Knockout of the Nights, rather than Fight of the Nights now that I’ve experienced my last two knockouts. So we’ll see. But two of my first three fights in the UFC were Fight of the Years.”
In other words, title or not, there’s a very good chance Justin Gaethje winds up in the UFC Hall of Fame some day.
Asked about his style, which was got him to this point, Gaethje was careful to point out that despite appearances, “I don’t throw caution [to the wind].”
“It may seem like that when I’m in there. Obviously I made a huge change my last two fights. So that’s a big factor.” However, prior to that, “it wasn’t broken, so I couldn’t fix it. I was 18-0, fighting the way I was fighting, so why change? I was having fun too.”
As for other must-see fighters in the UFC, Gaethje revealed that “I’m a huge fan of the Korean Zombie, for sure. I definitely would give him that. He had a great knockout his last fight, that was f*cking quick.” But regardless of how exciting his peers are, “my goal is to be the most exciting fighter ever, and I think I’m doing a good job at that. So I’m going to keep working, one at a time, and get it done.”
It’s hard to be exciting without a fight, however. That’s where Gaethje is at for the moment. All the other top lightweights seem to have been paired up. So Gaethje is “just hanging out, waiting for somebody to fight me. I’m ranked number five, I’ve worked really hard to be here, I think I’ve earned somebody in front of me. So I’m going to wait and be patient. Be as patient as I can.”
As for a scintillating fight with Conor McGregor, Gaethje doesn’t believe it’s in the cards. “I think he’s retired, I think he’s retired. So it is what it is. We’re going to move on from that. He’s ranked number three, hopefully they get him out of there soon, and we move on.”