Finishing the Fight: UFC 249

UFC Philadelphia Justin Gaethje
Justin Gaethje Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Mixed martial arts fans love a good fight-ending sequence, as often it summarizes the story of the fight in just a few seconds. Getting the finish is a definitive end to a fight that makes a statement: “I was this much better than my opponent at that particular moment in time.”

Every fighter has their go-to moves, especially specialists within certain martial arts disciplines. Their own signature styles that can lead to spectacular finishes. Whether it’s a scary-good rear-naked choke that fighters just can’t seem to avoid once going to the ground or crazy power in a straight left hand that has dropped even granite-chinned fighters with ease, each fighter has a particular finishing move or sequence. Moves that have stuck in fan’s minds and come to define and describe their careers within the cage.

Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (21-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC)

Justin Gaethje UFC Vancouver
Justin Gaethje Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Justin Gaethje is violence. Gaethje’s unique willingness to throw caution to the wind, even when facing fighters at the premier level of professional mixed martial arts, is something to behold. Extreme mental fortification allows ‘The Highlight’ to have some of the best cardiovascular endurance and conditioning in the sport. Obviously, every pro-MMA fighter is mentally tough in some aspects, but Gaethje is a real fighter’s fighter.

And for this, Justin Gaethje’s X-Factor is his mental toughness. He only has 2 decisions in his entire 23 fight professional MMA career. Gaethje has 17 KOs/TKOs and 2 submissions in his entire pro career. Justin’s most recent fight in the octagon, he truly looked like ‘calculated’ fury and proceeded to walk through Cowboy Cerrone in a first-round knockout. Gaethje also knocked out Edson Barboza in the very first round in his bout before that, and in the bout prior disposed of James Vick in just under 90 seconds.  Even in Gaethje’s losses to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alverez he never wavered from his usual fight style of walking forward, dishing out damage, and fought valiantly till the very end. Since that second loss in the UFC, Gathje has looked a tad more calculated, measured. But he’s still walking forward taking blows and throwing his signature chopping leg kicks, and still a fan favorite to watch.