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"I'm from a very, very small place," Justin says. "I don't know how it's going to be sitting on the couch and watching him fight," Ray says. After this, he talked to his coaches about his intentions on trying out the new sport, to which he was told that he had to get his grades up in order to get an amateur bout. [9], Gaethje has two sisters. “I know he was in a bad spot, but whether he was or not, he did what he needed to do,” Gaethje said. Gaethje turned Ferguson’s face into a version of carpaccio before the beatdown, mercifully, stopped in the fifth round. A victory over Ferguson would lead him to undefeated lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov -- which is exactly the kind of challenge that excites Gaethje the most. I’m coming home.” And working in the mines—this massive natural treasure; a place where no laborer is indispensable—is a hell of a place to develop some humility. "[101], Gaethje—along with UFC President Dana White, fighters Colby Covington and Henry Cejudo, and manager Ali Abdelaziz—attended a rally for President Donald Trump in September 2020, with the fighters being acknowledged by the President. Earlier, Whittaker (22-5) gave a disciplined, active performance with impressive striking to earn his second consecutive UFC victory since losing his title to Israel Adesanya in late 2019. Yet that kid from Safford will fight Khabib Nurmagomedov on Saturday on Fight Island in the main event of UFC 254 (2 p.m. on ESPN+ PPV) with the interim lightweight championship on the line. [37], Afterwards, Gaethje fought Dan Lauzon at WSOF 6 on October 26, 2013, finishing Lauzon by knockout with a right uppercut in the second round. Boxing: Gervonta Davis stops Leo Santa Cruz in 6th at Alomodome That’s fun!” he says. Read more of SI's Daily Cover stories here. No family. The fights were plenty entertaining. Nurmagomedov (29-0) made the announcement immediately after he impressively finished his first fight since the death of his father and lifelong coach in July. The small town in Arizona known for producing copper miners, cattle ranchers and cotton farmers is also aware that it produced perhaps the most entertaining fighter in the world. • 11 a.m. [79] He won the fight via knockout in the first round. Know About J.D. “If you’re looking for a challenge and an adrenaline rush—and I always am—well, that’s a pretty good one.”, The fight was imperiled when Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap, was struck with COVID-19. Instead, after being handed the interim lightweight belt, Gaethje handed it back, announcing that he wanted the genuine article, which would mean defeating Nurmagomedov. Gaethje hasn’t gotten around to seeing it. Ray and Carolina will be watching from Safford, due to the closed-arena policy in Jacksonville to combat the spread of the coronavirus. He is an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in … [6][7] His mother was a postmaster while his father was a copper miner, as were both of his grandfathers. It will streak and spackle the canvas, leaving it looking like a slaughterhouse floor. But it paid the bills, and then some. There will be blood. [16] He still holds the seventh-most near falls (218) and the ninth-most team points scored (1057.5) in the history of the state as a wrestler. There was none following the fight either. [71] The fight earned Gaethje his third consecutive Fight of the Night bonus award. “Dustin and Conor are going to fight in January,” Nurmagomedov said, referring to the probable meeting between the former contenders at UFC 257. Thirteen years ago, Justin Gaethje didn't know where life would take him. Teofimo Lopez finishes his takeover of the lightweight division His mother, Carolina, worked there briefly after high school. "He didn't know what was going on. His high-risk, high-reward style yielded spectacular finishes and wild swoops of momentum, all the while keeping the cage-side medical personnel alert. Gaethje was quick to take to Twitter, tenderly addressing the man he was slated to face in the UFC’s most anticipated fight of the year. [39], His first title defense was at WSOF 11 against Nick Newell on July 5, 2014. Teofimo Lopez talks the talk, beats the chalk and Lomachenko too All of those things came true. He will face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 on Oct. 24 and the story has been updated to reflect his upcoming fight. Gaethje is equal parts fighter and showman, happy to eat 10 punches if it means unloading 11 of his own. Is Khabib now the best pound for pound fighter? "[70], Gaethje lost a back-and-forth fight via TKO in the fourth round to Dustin Poirier on April 14, 2018, at UFC on Fox 29. He set up a base in Denver, where he could train with Wittman. UFC Fight Night takeaways: Time is right for Anderson Silva to retire; Bryce Mitchell is legit, Tyrell Fortune: Living to fight another day after they pronounced me dead, UFC Fight Night: Bryce Mitchell, Greg Hardy impressive in victories, The inside story of how 'The Ultimate Fighter' saved the UFC 15 years ago, MMA pound-for-pound rankings: It's unanimous -- Khabib is unsurpassed, Whittaker: Adesanya is the only guy I want to fight, Why Khabib Nurmagomedov is(n't) MMA's GOAT. After graduating with a social work degree, Gaethje spent a few years fighting every three months or so, mostly in Colorado and Arizona. He then went to the University of Northern Colorado, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Human Services. [33] One of his early victories was over UFC veteran Drew Fickett. Gaethje’s next two UFC fights also won him Fight-of-the-Night bonuses. "Trouble is easy to get into, and it's really easy to think this is all there is, especially when you haven't seen how big the world is. For some reason, my mind will not let me do it. Just knocked the heck out of him. It would be years before Justin could say the same as he worked his way up the MMA ranks. Performance of the Night. In his sophomore season, he qualified for the 2009 NCAA Division I 157 lb Championship, where he posted a 0-2 record. “But I love it and every time I talk about it I always have to be careful, because it sounds like I'm putting it down and I don't wanna do that. Does that make sense?”. Donald Trump had a campaign event in Nevada, and among the big crowd gathered to support the US President were several UFC personalities. But he has tamped down what Poirier calls “the reckless abandonment.”, The clinical and dominant performance over Ferguson was especially gratifying. [88][89] He also continued his bonus award streak, earning the Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night awards. A couple guys started to get around his legs and instead of just going down, he kept trying to fight them off. He might fight with wild abandon, but get a load of this response: “The thing with fighting is, it goes away so fast, you’re only remembered by your last fight. His father’s lineage and unusual last name may be German. He claimed: “I was having too much fun.” Wittman, his coach, had a different assessment. He’ll get to find out soon. [55], On October 17, 2016, it was announced that Gaethje would defend the WSOF Lightweight Championship against João Zeferino on December 31, 2016, at WSOF 34 in the main event. [36], On June 14, 2013, he fought Brian Cobb at WSOF 3, eventually winning via TKO from leg kicks in the third round. UFC 254 was the last of five shows in a month inside the promotion’s secure bubble on Yas Island. But the match was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and rescheduled on 9 May 2020. Gaethje attended Safford High School in his hometown. [75] However, on June 28, 2018, Iaquinta withdrew from the bout and he was replaced by James Vick. He is likely to see an increase in pay. I've gotten opportunities on the biggest stages because of the way I fight.". He put in 12-hour days that summer, working a variety of jobs. Blood will trickle from cuts. [92][93] He lost the fight via technical submission due to triangle choke in the second round, marking the first submission loss in his professional mixed martial arts career. And many are predicting Saturday's main event to be a strong contender for Fight of the Night, especially considering Ferguson has 10 bonuses of his own. I did 96 hours one week. UFC 254: A dominant performance, a tearful goodbye and a legacy of greatness for Khabib, UFC 249: What's it like to fight Tony Ferguson? ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Unbeaten lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from mixed martial arts after stopping Justin Gaethje with a triangle choke early in the second round at UFC 254 on Saturday night. You get half to show and half to win. The 32-year-old Nurmagomedov was active with strikes and with grappling against Gaethje (22-3), the dangerous brawler who had knocked out four consecutive elite opponents while winning the UFC’s interim lightweight title. Born in Safford, Arizona, Gaethje began wrestling when he was four years old. [20], As a junior, Gaethje went 5-2 at the 2010 NCAA Division I 157 lb Championship to earn 7th place and All-American status. I have never had anyone else say that to me. “When I’m 50, I know I'll miss it tremendously.”, At some point in a wide-ranging conversation, talk turns to the 30 for 30 ESPN/UFC documentary on Tito Ortiz and Chuck Lidell, and their struggles after hitting their fighting primes. It could be described as a monastic existence, if monks were violent. Wittman says. Ray Gaethje worked his ass off and then, once he punched out, was a subdued family man. "And I don't know if he saw an opening or what, but he decides to try and run for a touchdown. Non-title bout; Guillard missed weight (158.8 lb). That’s the reason why I never wanted to wrestle. "Former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje takes shots at 'quitter' Conor McGregor ahead of UFC debut", "Fight Path: Miner's son Justin Gaethje ready to unleash patented slams at WSOF 2", "Justin Gaethje: From the copper mines to the smiling fields of gold", Justin Gaethje's Knockout Rate Trumps MMA All-Timers, "UFC 249: Inside Justin Gaethje's journey from a mining town to MMA stardom", "Justin Gaethje calls KO loss to Eddie Alvarez a 'dream come true, "WSOF champ Justin Gaethje: I won't take a pay cut to go to the UFC", "MMA practically a birthright for WSOF champ Gaethje", "Former UNC Wrestling Standout Justin Gaethje Returns to Campus to Defend MMA Championship", "ARIZONA CHAPTER NATIONAL WRESTLING HALL OF FAME", "Former UNC All-American wrestler Gaethje to headline MMA fighting event in Greeley", "The Beaten Path: Prospect Justin Gaethje Is Newest Member of Long MMA Tradition", "Gaethje Advances To Final Day of NCAA Championship", "An up-and-down year: UNC's Justin Gaethje still trying to find his groove at 149 pounds |", "WSOF champ Gaethje won't take a pay cut for the UFC", "Match of the Day: Justin Gaethje wins true-second at 2011 NCAA West Region Championships", "University of Northern Colorado to induct Justin Gaethje into Athletic Hall of Fame", "Gaethje ready to bring ultra-aggressive style to UFC", "RING OF FIRE 41 RESULTS: BRANDON THATCH WINS QUICK, TYLER TONER STAGES AMAZING COMEBACK", "Justin Gaethje to Close Out 2012 with a Bang Following 12-Second KO of UFC Vet Drew Fickett |", "Happy to announce Justin Gaethje @GAETHJE_FSU just signed with World Series of Fighting! 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Didn ’ t asked former training partner Melvin Guillard at WSOF 2 against Gesias Cavalcante, finishing fight... Was postponed due to the side, '' Marcus recalls know it in, ” he says gets! Guy with a knockout of Michael Johnson he 'll be there in Jacksonville, during COVID-19! 12 hours every day mini golf course, or would be years before Justin could say the time!

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