A lot of fighters would love to have Cowboy Cerrone’s career, but Justin Gaethje isn’t one of them, he told reporters ahead of UFC Vancouver.
Vancouver, BC — Five fights. Six performance bonuses. As Justin Gaethje prepares for his sixth UFC fight, against Donald Cerrone, one thing is certain: he has cemented his status as a must-watch fighter. UFC Vancouver will be no different, especially against a fighter with the pedigree of Cowboy.
Oddly enough, however, Gaethje — who has been battling an eye infection coming into the fight — wouldn’t take the storied Cerrone’s career when all is said and done. He let that slip, and more, at the UFC Vancouver media day, with Cageside Press and other media outlets in attendance.
In his own press scrum earlier in the day, Cowboy had spoke highly of Gaethje, suggesting that good parents, which he felt Justin had, tend to raise good kids. Beyond that, Cerrone spoke of working with kids at his ranch, and the importance of family.
Gaethje, who studied social work in college, made similar statements Thursday. Asked if he and Cerrone were cut from the same cloth, ‘The Highlight’ wasn’t so sure.
“We’re both warriors. I see that similarity,” he told Cageside Press. Otherwise, however, he referred to himself and Cerrone as “acquaintances.” A far cry from Cerrone labeling them buddies. “I’ve been around him for a total of maybe two months in my life. It’s not like I know the guy personally,” said Gaethje. “I don’t know who he is, I don’t know how he is, I don’t know what he is. I know he’s a warrior, I know he’s one of the best that’s ever done this, and I’m excited to face that challenge, and to face the adversity that he brings.”
Case in point, “no one’s ever put him to sleep,” he said. Just like no one had ever put former opponent Edson Barboza to sleep, before Gaethje came along.
“These are things that I’m here for. To create that legacy,” Gaethje continued. “Obviously I’m 3-2 right now. You can talk all the sh*t you want about that. I’ve fought the who’s who, the toughest guys. If I get a title shot, it’ll only be because I went through the toughest guys. Most guys who get title shots don’t have to do that.”
As to whether he was any more excited for the match-up given Cowboy’s pedigree, Gaethje admitted that “I’m super-excited. It’s great man.”
Gaethje is looking to create a legacy, and “Cowboy is the right man for that right now.” Cerrone is ranked number four in the world, and “that’s not a mistake. He’s fought the most, he’s finished the most, he’s got the most bonuses. Of course, it’s what I’m here for.”
But he’d never trade places with the UFC legend. “No. I have twenty wins and seventeen knockouts. That cannot be matched.”
Later, asked if he’d be satisfied if he finished his career without a title, Gaethje retorted by saying that “Cowboy ain’t got a belt either. So why would I trade with him? I wouldn’t trade my life for anybody’s life, to be honest with you.”
So is the goal the title, or to be remembered as the most exciting ever? Gaethje elaborated by saying that “I will try my hardest, and I will be satisfied with that. I will not take a shortcut, I won’t stray, I won’t run because I’m scared of it. I will face my fears consistently, constantly. Every single time that it’s in front of me, I’m going to jump.”
He jumps back into it in the biggest fight of his career thus far against Cowboy Cerrone in the main event of UFC Vancouver this Saturday.
Watch the full UFC Vancouver media day scrum with Justin Gaethje above!