The former WSOF champion Justin Gaethje knows the limits of his reckless style but will nevertheless continue his unique approach simply for the love of it.
Justin Gaethje’s short but electric run in the UFC might have seen him go just 1-2 in his first three, but each of those contests has only served to build onto his reputation as perhaps the most entertaining fighter in the game today.
His debut saw him weather an almighty storm from Michael Johnson to put him away after falling behind on the scorecards and while he did succumb to Eddie Alvarez’s comparable grit in their UFC 218, he did manage to bring the fight to him for the vast majority of their UFC 218 encounter.
His last outing, unfortunately, did not end well for him and his title aspirations after he was once again finished by strikes, this time by ‘The Diamond’ Dustin Poirier and while the fight was, of course, thrilling, many have wondered at why Gaethje fights so recklessly given his background as a wrestler.
Fortunately, the man himself answered that exact question during a recent appearance on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.
“I’ve been wrestling my whole life. I should’ve and could’ve took him down a couple of times, especially when I had him rocked just to steal a round or two. For some reason, my mind will not let me do it.
“I think I sold myself so hard on the fact that this is not wrestling. I don’t know, I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.
“It definitely would be a good idea. I have to get people guessing if I’m going to take them down or not. They know what I’m coming with right now. Everyone knows I’m going to come in there and I’m going to stop your takedowns. So, yeah, it would benefit me to keep them guessing. I need to work it into my game plan.
“No, I don’t wish that I fought like that. I’m glad that I fight like I do because I love what I do, but it would be fun to add that into the game plan sometime.
“I took a hard shot, it knocked me out. I definitely have to keep people guessing whether I’m going to take them down. My main game plan on Saturday night was to go in their and break his legs, and right off the bat I had a lot of success in doing that.
“I know why I didn’t take him down, it would have defeated the entire purpose of my game plan. If I took him down I wouldn’t be able to kick his leg, that’s what my mindset was.”
If he continues to fight and excite the way he does, I can honestly say that I hope he never changes.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena