Justin Gaethje Explains Aversion to Wrestling-Heavy Style

UFC
May 21, 2024
Justin Gaethje claims his fighting style has a lot to do with where he has made it as a fighter so far.

Arguably one of the biggest fan favorites in the history of the sport, Gaethje is known for going out on his shield every time he steps into the Octagon. Despite being a former NCAA Division I wrestler from the University of Northern Colorado, Gaethje is rarely seen using his grappling skills. The former BMF champ instead choses to engage in brutal slugfests that have produced some of the best highlights in the history of the promotion.

Gaethje recently explained his unwillingness to adopt a wrestling-heavy approach despite having the skillset. According to “The Highlight,” a big part of the purse he now makes is because of the way he fights.

"This is my job. I do this for the money. And if I was to take a heavy wrestling approach, they [UFC] would never be paying me what they're paying me now,” Gaethje told Title Sports Network. “I've had huge fights, pretty much because of the way I fight so I have no regrets.”

Ironically, it was Gaethje’s wrestling that earned him his nickname “The Highlight.”

“Crazy thing is, I got that nickname when I was a pure wrestler,” Gaethje said. “I would pick people up and slam them on their heads. I had two knockouts from slams early on in my career, so that’s definitely where that [the nickname] came from.”

Gaethje was next in line for a lightweight title shot when he decided to put his BMF title on the line against Max Holloway at UFC 300 last month. Gaethje suffered a one-sided beatdown against “Blessed,” but staying true to his reputation, slugged it out till he was knocked out cold in the final seconds.

Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Justin-Gaethje-Explains-Aversion-to-WrestlingHeavy-Style-193768

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