The undefeated mixed martial arts (MMA) record of Justin Gaethje is no more.
Gaethje is a former World Series Of Fighting (WSOF) lightweight champion who made his UFC debut this past July in a "Fight Of The Year" candidate fight against Michael Johnson. The pair slugged it out for almost three rounds, knocking each other down with massive haymakers.
Eventually Gaethje was able to withstand the beating enough to force a TKO stoppage and extend his undefeated streak. After that bout Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez were named the coaches of the new season of The Ultimate Fighter.
As per tradition, the coaches fight each other after the season is over - and that's exactly what happened at UFC 218. Alvarez and Gaethje put on an amazing back-and-forth brawl, as expected, however, Alvarez landed a flush knee to earn the KO win.
Gaethje recently joined The MMA Hour to discuss suffering the first loss of his career, something he calls a 'dream come true' (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“Looking back, it lived up to the hype,” Gaethje said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I told people before that I had the ‘Fight of the Year’ until I fought again, and that’s what I do.
"It’s what I do every time. I get a bonus every time, and man, I really had a lot of fun in there. That’s first and foremost. It was the time of my life.
"Honestly, being in front of that many people, being able to put my skills on the line at the highest level on a pay-per-view, all of those things, it was a dream come true for me.
“I have to keep reminding myself that I lost,” Gaethje continued. “I don’t know. I signed up for this. I said it before, I said it many times, that I was going to lose (eventually).
"If I lost, I hoped that I would get knocked out. All of those things came true. I love the sport, I’m a fan of MMA, I’ve been a fan of MMA since before I started it, I was a fan of Eddie Alvarez before I started fighting, so just the culmination of events that have transpired in my life through hard work, through specifically hard work, it’s just, I’m happy.
"I’m happy for myself. I’m happy for my family. I’ve been trying to prepare my mom and sisters for all of that for a long time, so when it did happen, they were like, ‘Well, you’ve kinda prepared us for this.’ So it wasn’t that bad.
“I’m happy to get it over with, I’ll be honest with you,” Gaethje said. “In hindsight, I’d love to be undefeated still, but that’s not what this sport is.
"Now we can actually focus on what I do good, my timing, my attitude.
"I’m a wrestler and I just boxed with one of the best pure MMA boxers I think there is, so I’m happy with my skills, I’m happy with my coaches, I’m happy with the life I chose and all of that.
“When you win, you get to pick someone in front of you to fight. But when you lose — I’m still ranked No. 5 in the world in the UFC, so coming off a loss, now I get to give someone behind me a chance,” Gaethje said.
“And we’ll see which one of these loudmouths — Kevin Lee, Dustin Poirier — one of them is going to have to get me on my comeback, so I’m excited for that.”
What are your thoughts on Gaethje being thankful for his KO loss to Alvarez? Do you think that Gaethje is going to be able to clean up his act inside the cage and fight less recklessly? Or will he continue to fight with his usual brawler style inside the Octagon? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below!
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