Justin Gaethje
The Highlight
To fight Edson Barboza in Philly
LightweightUFC
January 16, 2019
Gaethje has been booked to fight Edson Barboza in a lightweight bout at UFC on ESPN in Philadelphia on March 30, Dave Doyle of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Gaethje just joined the UFC in 2017 and is coming off a first-round knockout over James Vick at UFC Lincoln back in August. Gaethje, however, is still just 2-2 since joining the organization due to suffering back-to-back knockouts from Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. The March fight pits him against a seasoned UFC veteran in Barboza, who is 13-6 in the UFC since joining all the way back in 2010.
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Highlight reel knockout in Round 1 in UFC Lincoln main event
LightweightUFC
August 25, 2018
Gaethje defeated James Vick via KO (punch) at 1:27 of Round 1 at UFC Lincoln on Saturday. He picked up a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for his efforts.
ANALYSIS
The fight started out with Vick doing a good job controlling the distance with kicks. He was landing body shots at will and even wobbled Gaethje at one point. "The Highlight" stayed patient and leaped in with an overhand right. Vick was unconscious before he hit the canvas. He was so concussed he tried to take Gaethje down after the fight when Gaethje came over to shake his hand.
Gets replacement opponent in James Vick
LightweightUFC
June 28, 2018
Gaethje will now take on James Vick in a lightweight battle at UFC Lincoln on August 25.
ANALYSIS
Gaethje had originally been scheduled to take on Al Iaquinta, but Iaquinta was forced to withdraw due to undisclosed reasons. He'll now get an equally-tough matchup in Vick, a long and large fighter for the 155-pound division. Gaethje will concede six inches in reach and four inches in height, so it might be more difficult than usual to utilize his typical stand-and-trade philosophy. It would be wise to instead lean on his wrestling, as Vick has been taken down five times over his last two fights. Without seeing much wrestling from Gaethje in his first three UFC fights, however, there's no guarantee he's ready to make an adjustment.
Will no longer fight Iaquinta
LightweightUFC
June 27, 2018
Gaethje will no longer face Al Iaquinta in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Lincoln, Nebraska on August 25 as Iaquinta has dropped out due to undisclosed reasons, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Gaethje has lost his opponent for his next scheduled fight. The UFC is currently searching for a new opponent for Gaethje. As of now, it seems the plan is to keep Gaethje in the main event, however more information should come out in the coming weeks as the search for a replacement opponent continues.
To headline Lincoln card against Al Iaquinta
LightweightUFC
June 7, 2018
Gaethje will take on Al Iaquinta in a lightweight matchup in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card in Lincoln, Nebraska on Aug. 25, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Gaethje is coming off back-to-back punishing losses and should probably be taking some time off, but will get back into the Octagon for another potentially electrifying matchup in August -- four months after his TKO loss to Dustin Poirier. Iaquinta is coming off a loss as well, though anybody that hangs with Khabib Nurmagomedov for five rounds on short notice is more than impressive. For Gaethje, he would be well suited to utilize his wrestling skills more as opposed to constantly engaging in all-out brawls, but this isn't something he's been willing to do in his career to date. To further complicate the matter, Iaquinta sports a more-than-respectable 77 percent takedown defense. Gaethje's fights continue to be of the fan-friendly variety, but if he's long for this sport, he may need to consider some stylistic adjustments.
Loses Saturday in potential Fight of the Year
LightweightUFC
April 14, 2018
Gaethje lost to Dustin Poirier via TKO (punches) at 0:33 of Round 4 at UFC on FOX 29 on Saturday in Glendale, Arizona.
ANALYSIS
As was expected, Gaethje is quickly finding out that is reckless, no holds barred style of fighting simply isn't going to play against the best lightweights that the UFC has to offer. Sure, it's entertaining as all heck, but Gaethje is losing fights. The fact he is one of the toughest human beings on the planet is the only reason he saw Round 4 on Saturday. The Highlight ate a whopping 183 significant strikes from Poirier before referee Herb Dean called a halt to the contest. Gaethje entered with the game plan of pounding Poirier with leg kicks and outlasting him. The first part worked to perfection, the second did not. Gaethje will always be in the market for high-profile bouts because he is incapable of having a boring fight, just don't look for him to enter the title picture in the UFC's lightweight division when all is said and done. At least he received a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus as consolation.