Justin Gaethje is no longer undefeated in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career after what Eddie Alvarez did to him earlier this month.
Gaethje and Alvarez coached opposite each other on this past season of The Ultimate Fighter. As per tradition, the two coaches are expected to fight one another after the show's conclusion. And that's exactly what happened at UFC 218.
Alvarez outclassed Gaethje, who was looking to make it a brawl, however, "The Underground King" didn't make it out of the Octagon without a few bumps and bruises of his own.
Gaethje brutalized Alvarez's legs with kicks and was able to land some big shots to the head of his own. In the end, it was a knee from the ex-UFC lightweight champion that earned him the knockout win.
It was the first loss of the former World Series Of Fighting (WSOF) lightweight champ's career, but he still feels like he won something from the defeat.
Speaking to MMA Tonight on Sirius XM Rush recently, Gaethje explained that he feels like he won because he lost the fight via knockout, and not via decision (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“It’s crazy, the way I fight, it’s definitely hard to - I would argue to anybody that I won the first round,” Gaethje explained.
“I did some major damage to his lead leg in that first round. He did a good job of putting his hands on me but definitely didn’t do a lot of damage.
"He definitely beat me in that second round and in the third round, I thought it was a close fight.
"If it would have went to the scorecards, I’m sure he would have got it because of the takedown or something and he was a little bit more active with punches but I cause a lot of damage when I do land my strikes and it’s hard to judge that.
“I’m glad I got knocked out instead of going to a decision and losing because that’s not the way I want to lose. I’m happy with my performance.
"I feel like I won because I tried so hard. My preparation was there and ultimately I went out and did what I go to do and that’s entertain people and entertain myself really. And I had fun.
“At the end of the day, it’s an unforgiving sport,” said Gaethje. “All of a sudden I could get knocked out three times, so you just never know with this sport.
"I’m definitely not gonna change anything. There’s not a lot of people that can sit there and take the punishment that I can deliver.
“I need to be in better shape. I was definitely trying to avoid grappling exchanges because I didn’t want to get tired . . . but those are things that can be fixed.
“With the way I fight, the UFC’s not stupid,” said Gaethje. “For one, they probably know that they’re don’t have me forever. I’m not gonna be around.
"They don’t have but six to seven more fights out of me. I believe that I’m one of the top competitors in this division in the world, so I’m gonna keep fighting people at the top of the division for right now.
“I definitely would have wanted to call someone out ahead of me had I won this fight but since I lost I don’t think I have that position anymore.
"But they’re not gonna make me fight someone way back there. From a business standpoint, of course I’m not gonna fight someone that’s unranked or something like that.
"I think I’m on the same page as the UFC right now and luckily, one loss doesn’t kill you. Two or three does so I’ve got to go out there, and get a big win in my next fight, it doesn’t matter who it’s against.”
What are your thoughts on Gaethje saying the he feels like he won against Alvarez because he lost via knockout and not a decision? Do you agree with Gaethje's point of view? Or is he simply trying to make himself feel better about the defeat? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below!
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