Justin Gaethje won’t be messing around when he challenges Charles Oliveira for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight title this Sat. night (May 7, 2022) at UFC 274 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Known as one of the toughest and most exciting fighters in the world, Gaethje is never shy to back away from a war in the Octagon. Acknowledging his willingness to brawl, Gaethje has compared to that of his opponent during the build-up to their clash. Thus leading to some critique of the current champion’s heart, something “The Highlight” stands by in his justification.
“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 (h/t MMA Fighting). “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 continued. “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.”
In Gaethje’s thrilling 26-fight career, he has suffered defeat on three occasions having been finished in all of them — the first two via knockout and the last, a submission in his first title shot opposite Khabib Nurmagomedov (watch highlights).