Justin Gaethje is chasing perfection this weekend.
This weekend, Gaethje will challenge for the 155-pound title when he faces off with lightweight champion Charles Oliveira in the main event of UFC 274, and he comes into it having drawn the ire of the champion. Gaethje has received backlash from Oliveira for calling him a “quitter”, and while Gaethje admits that Oliveira has shown a lot of heart, especially in his recent fights, at the end of the day, “The Highlight” intends on bringing that out in his opponent.
“I wasn’t being overly critical, I wasn’t saying he was a bad champion, I was saying that in the times that he’s lost, he didn’t even get knocked out, he quit sometimes,” Gaethje told ESPN. “The choice to quit is something one makes, and once you make it, you can make it again, because you know that it’s there. I don’t believe I’ve ever made that choice. Some people haven’t and I believe some people have… I believe that he has, and that’s all I was saying. I believe, deep down, he knows his way out, and that’s to quit whenever he gets hit too many times too hard.
“All those assessments were of a younger man. He’s  years old, he’s a man now, with confidence. A man with confidence is a dangerous man and he’s not the same man that I was referencing. But, again, deep down, once it happened once it will happen again, and I’m the perfect guy to show it to him. And I will show it to him May 7. I’ve got to stay out of grappling positions, obviously, but I’m going to put a hole right in his face and it’s going to be glorious.”
UFC 274 will be Gaethje’s second attempt at claiming an undisputed title, having won an interim belt against Tony Ferguson in 2020, but falling short in his bid to unify belts against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254. If he loses, in the stacked lightweight division, a third title shot is far from a guarantee and so, knowing this, Gaethje intends to put on a flawless performance to ensure that he gets the job done this time around.
“I’m going to be perfect, and I’m going to be perfect for 25 minutes,” Gaethje said. “If he can beat me, then kudos to him, but he’s going to have to walk through hell, like Khabib did. But he’s not as powerful, he doesn’t have the structure, he doesn’t have the frame, and he doesn’t have explosive takedowns. He’s going to have to find me making a mistake, overreaching, and try to get into a grappling situation. Outside that, he better be praying every day that he gets me to the ground, because if not, it’s gonna be the same night as [Michael] Chandler, except five rounds. And if I went five rounds with Chandler, he would have died, and that’s the truth. So I’m glad we didn’t go five rounds.”
Gaethje knows a little something about walking through hell. “The Highlight” has won MMA Fighting’s Fight of the Year award three times in the last five years, for his bouts with Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier, and most recently, Michael Chandler.
UFC Vegas 53 Post Show.
UFC 274 Countdown.
Justin Gaethje training camp.
Israel Adesanya breaks down UFC 274.
Alexander Volkanovski roasts the UFC roster.
On To The Next One. Matches to make following UFC Vegas 53.
Run it back.
Dustin calling the shot.
Gonna fight your ass
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) May 1, 2022
It’s official, Aljo is ducking Merab.
Hey @chrisweidman I hope you are doing well and have recovered well after your injury. If you’re healthy and ready to get back in cage it would be an honor to share the octagon with you. Big respect ❤️
— Krzysztof Jotko (@JotkoMMA) May 1, 2022
Danny Sabatello sticking to the hits.
UFC 275 Poster.
Marcus Buchecha (2-0) vs. Hugo Cunha (6-1); ONE 157, May 20.
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