Justin Gaethje

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USA

Again fails in quest for UFC gold
LightweightUFC
May 7, 2022
Gaethje came up short in his quest to win the UFC Lightweight Championship on Saturday, falling to Charles Oliveira via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:22 of Round 1 at UFC 274 in Phoenix.
ANALYSIS
Oliveira, of course, was not eligible to retain the title after being stripped for missing weight on Friday morning, nor could he earn what likely would have been a post-fight bonus. Still, it was an epic clash for as long as it lasted. Gaethje got cracked multiple times right off the hop, but in typical Gaethje fashion, rebounded to inflict plenty of damage on his opponent, including a massive knockdown. Justin wisely avoided all ground exchanges with Oliviera, but Charles worked to take his back following a big shot on the feet and easily clamped on the rear-naked choke that ended the fight. It appeared as if Gaethje was perhaps too worked up, putting everything he had into every single shot. This was a major problem for Justin early in his UFC run, but he appeared to correct the issue of late. This was a huge opportunity for Gaethje in his native Arizona but it simply wasn't meant to be. The 33-year-old is still an impressive 5-2 in his past seven bouts, but the two defeats have both come in title fights.
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Oliveira misses weight
LightweightUFC
May 6, 2022
Gaethje's opponent Charles Oliveira missed weight by one-half pound Friday ahead of their lightweight bout scheduled for Saturday's UFC 274, Aaron Bronsteter of TSN.ca reports.
ANALYSIS
With Oliveira now ineligible to retain his UFC Lightweight Championship on Saturday, Gaethje is now in prime position to take the belt if he's able to emerge victorious. If Oliveira wins, the title would remain vacant. Gaethje last defeated Michael Chandler in November via unanimous decision, and he'll now look to solidify himself as the undisputed UFC lightweight champion if he defeats Oliveira at UFC 274.
Getting title shot in May
LightweightUFC
January 26, 2022
Gaethje will take on Charles Oliveira for the UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 274 on May 7, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Gaethje is getting the title shot following his unanimous decision win over previous belt holder Michael Chandler in November. Oliveira knocked off Chandler in May to take the belt off him before successfully defending it in December against Dustin Poirier.
Takes epic war from Mike Chandler
LightweightUFC
November 6, 2021
Gaethje defeated Michael Chandler via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) at UFC 268 on Saturday in New York City.
ANALYSIS
It ended up living up to all the hype and then some. Both men had more than their fair share of moments in a back-and-forth war, but those are the exact type of fights Gaethje excels in, and this one was no exception. Justin is the rare fighter who legitimately performs better as the circumstances worsen. Gaethje doesn't get credit for his technical skills on the feet. While he typically ends up in brawls, he knows what to do from a technical standpoint. He made a concerted effort to damage Chandler's lead leg early in the fight, and it may have very well been the difference given the lack of separation between the two. One would think Gaethje will have to pay the piper eventually for all the damage he has absorbed over the years, but it hasn't happened yet. Justin has now won four of his past five fights, with the lone loss coming to the undefeated and since-retired Khabib Nurmagomedov in a title fight a little over a year ago. Gaethje has a real case to take on the winner of the upcoming lightweight championship fight between title holder Charles Oliveira and challenger Dustin Poirier. It should be noted that Poirier knocked Gaethje out when the two fought in April 2018. On top of what this fight did for his title hopes, Gaethje will also walk away with a $50,000 bonus after this fight was deservingly given Fight of the Night honors. For those keeping score at home, that's his tenth post-fight bonus in just nine fights with the company.
Agrees to fight at UFC 268
LightweightUFC
July 30, 2021
Gaethje has agreed to face Michael Chandler in a lightweight bout at UFC 268 in November, Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
While the event doesn't yet have an official date, Gaethje will return to the Octagon after he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov via technical submission (arm triangle) at UFC 254 in October of 2020. He'll face another high-profile opponent in Chandler, who was also unable to secure the UFC Lightweight Championship when he lost to Charles Oliveira via TKO (punches) at UFC 262 in May. Gaethje has slight advantages in both height and reach.
Latest victim of Khabib
LightweightUFC
October 24, 2020
Gaethje came out short in his quest for the undisputed UFC Lightweight Championship, falling to Khabib Nurmagomedov via technical submission (arm triangle) at UFC 254 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
ANALYSIS
This outcome was not the result of anything Gaethje did incorrectly. He was just going up against a guy who is clearly the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at the moment and might be legitimately unbeatable at 155 pounds. Gaethje looked considerably less comfortable than he did in his victory over Tony Ferguson this past May. The reason for that was the constant pressure of Khabib. Gaethje landed with some leg kicks and a few wild counter strikes, but the steady pressure of Khabib severely limited his offensive opportunities. Justin might be the second best lightweight in the world, but the gap between Khabib and the rest of the division gets wider by the day. The soon-to-be 32-year-old Gaethje will be back stronger and better than ever in short order. It wouldn't be a shock to see if next fight once again be for the title given Khabib's shocking retirement announcement following Saturday's victory.