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35 Things You Didn’t Know About Justin Gaethje
For those that do not know about Justin Gaethje and are interested, this article is the right track cos we’ll be talking about the key facts which you need to know about Justin Gaethje. Born on the 14th of November, 1988, Justin Ray Gaethje is an American professional mixed martial artist who currently competes in the lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Having been born in Salford, Arizona, Gaethje started wrestling at the age of four and began his amateur MMA career while still in college. He started his professional career back in 2011 and joined the World Series of Fighting in 2013, and he’s known for is ruthless fighting style.
Aside from his wrestling career, one other interesting thing to know about Justin Gaethje is the fact that he holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Services from the University of Northern Colorado. He has even stated his intention to engage in social work with “At-Risk Youth”. As of 2016, Gaethje underwent a photorefractive keratectomy to correct his eyesight, when he was not seeing the vision properly. Now read further below in order to get the full gist on things you didn’t know about Justin Gaethje.
All You Need to Know About Justin Gaethje
We’ll be detailing you prior to the early life and background of Justin Gaethje, and also all about his career.
His Background and Early Life
- Justin Gaethje was born in Salford, Arizona. His mother, Carolina (née Espinoza), is of Mexican descent, and his father, John Ray Gaethje, is of German descent. His mother was a postmaster while his father was a copper miner, as were both of his grandfathers. His paternal grandfather boxed while serving in the United States Army. Gaethje’s father Ray retired as a copper miner in September 2019, after 36 years working at the Morenci mine.
- Gaethje has two sisters and also has a twin brother, Marcus John Gaethje, who worked at the Morenci mine for almost 10 years.
- Gaethje began wrestling at the age of four and attended Safford High School, where he was a four-time finalist and two-time Arizona State champion as a wrestler. He also played football and baseball in high school.
- Gaethje graduated from Safford High School with a 191-9 record.
- He initially applied to a small college in Arizona as he wanted to stay close to his family, but instead accepted an offer from the NCAA Division I program at the University of Northern Colorado.
- As a freshman, Gaethje had an 18-9 record, including a third-place finish at the Oregon Wrestling Classic.
- In his sophomore season, he qualified for the 2009 NCAA Division I 157 lb Championship, where he had a 0-2 record. He finished the season with a 14-4 record and was named to the Western Wrestling All-Conference First Team.
- As a junior, Gaethje went 5-2 at the 2010 NCAA Division I 157 lb Championship to earn 7th place and All-American status. This made him the first Northern Colorado wrestler to attain Division I All-American status since Larry Wagner in 1970.
- Gaethje dropped down to the 149 lb division for his senior year but had struggles with weight cutting.
- He won true-second at the NCAA Western Regional Championships and so qualified for the 2011 NCAA Division I 149 lb Championship, where he posted a 1-2 record to end his senior season with a 17-8 record.
- Gaethje also wrestled with a number of mixed martial artists such as Georges St-Pierre during his collegiate years.
About his Professional Career
- Gaethje began his amateur MMA career during his studies at the University of Northern Colorado. He amassed a 7–0 amateur record before making his professional debut on August 20, 2011, against Kevin Croom. Gaethje won the fight in the first round via KO due to a slam after his opponent attempted a submission.
- On the regional circuit in Colorado and Arizona, Gaethje compiled an undefeated 7-0 professional record, with 6 stoppage wins. One of his early victories was over UFC veteran Drew Fickett. Gaethje won by knockout 12 seconds into the first round.
- He was then signed by the World Series of Fighting on December 2, 2012, and made his debut on March 23, 2012, at WSOF 2 against Gesias Cavalcante, finishing the fight in the first round through TKO (doctor stoppage) after opening a cut above Cavalcante’s left eye.
- On June 14, 2013, he fought Brian Cobb at WSOF 3, eventually winning via TKO from leg kicks in the third round.
- Gaethje fought Dan Lauzon at WSOF 6 on October 26, 2013, finishing Lauzon by knockout with a right uppercut in the second round. The three stoppage victories secured Gaethje a shot at the inaugural WSOF Lightweight Championship.
- He came up against Richard Patishnock on January 18, 2014, and dispatched him in the first round via TKO to become the WSOF Lightweight Champion.
- His first title defense was at WSOF 11 against Nick Newell on July 5, 2014. Gaethje won the fight with a right hook TKO in the second round.
- On November 15, 2014, Gaethje faced UFC veteran and former training partner Melvin Guillard at WSOF 15. The fight was ruled a non-title contest after Guillard missed weight. He scaled at 158.8 lbs, nearly 4 lbs over the 155 lb limit, and 50% of his purse went to Gaethje. Gaethje won the bout via split decision (28–29, 29–28, and 30–27).
- He later went on to fight Luis Palomino at WSOF 19 on March 28, 2015. Gaethje defended his title by stopping Palomino via TKO in the third round after a combination of leg kicks and punches.
- Gaethje had a rematch against Palomino on September 18, 2015, at WSOF 23 and defended his belt again, finishing Palomino in the second round by TKO.
- At WSOF 29 on March 12, 2016, he defended his belt against Brian Foster via TKO due to leg kicks at 1:43 of the first round.
- Three days later, Gaethje was suspended indefinitely by the Colorado State Athletic Commission for “unsportsmanlike conduct” after he performed his signature celebration, a backflip off the top of the cage, in the aftermath of his victory at WSOF 29. Although the suspension was lifted a day later.
- Gaethje was expected to defend the WSOF Lightweight Championship against Ozzy Dugulubgov at WSOF 33 on October 7, 2016. However, the bout was canceled on the day of the event as Dugulubgov was stricken with illness.
- On October 17, 2016, it was announced that Gaethje would defend the WSOF Lightweight Championship against João Zeferino on December 31, 2016, at WSOF 34 in the main event. However, an injury forced Zeferino to withdraw from the bout and he was replaced by Luiz Firmino. Gaethje won the bout by TKO via doctor stoppage due to Firmino’s right eye being swollen after round three.
- On May 4, 2017, Gaethje announced he had vacated his WSOF title and signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
- It was announced on May 12 that he would make his debut against Michael Johnson on July 7, at The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale. Gaethje won the back-and-forth fight via TKO in the second round through a combination of punches and knees. The win earned Gaethje the Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night awards.
- On July 13, 2017, the UFC announced that Gaethje would coach The Ultimate Fighter 26 along with Eddie Alvarez, with the duo expected to face each other at the conclusion of the season. The bout with Alvarez took place on December 2, 2017, at UFC 218. Gaethje lost the competitive fight by KO in the third round, the first loss of his MMA career. The fight also earned him his second consecutive Fight of the Night bonus award.
- Gaethje lost a back-and-forth fight via TKO in the fourth round to Dustin Poirier on April 14, 2018, at UFC on Fox 29. The fight earned Gaethje his third consecutive Fight of the Night bonus award. It was later revealed after the fight that Gaethje’s leg kicks had caused a partial tear of Poirier’s quadriceps femoris muscle. Poirier said, “I didn’t know it in the fight, but I knew it the night off and the next morning. He tore my quad. I’m trying to think of another time I’ve been seriously damaged with kicks. Jim Miller hurt my calf really good, but nothing like that.”
- Gaethje was scheduled to fight Al Iaquinta on August 25, 2018, at UFC Fight Night 135. However, on June 28, 2018, Iaquinta withdrew from the bout and he was replaced by James Vick. He rebounded from his two losses in emphatic fashion, winning the fight by knockout in the first round. He was also awarded a Performance of Night award, which meant he had earned five bonus awards in his four fights in UFC.
- Gaethje faced Edson Barboza on March 30, 2019, at UFC on ESPN 2. He won the fight via knockout in the first round. This fight earned him the Fight of the Night award.
- Gaethje next faced Donald Cerrone on September 14, 2019, in the main event at UFC on ESPN+ 16. He won the fight via TKO in the first round. The win also earned Gaethje his third Performance of the Night bonus award.
- On April 6, it was announced that Gaethje would step in on short notice to face Tony Ferguson for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship on April 18, at UFC 249.
- However, on April 9, UFC president Dana White announced that the event had been postponed, and the bout instead took place for May 9, 2020. Gaethje dominated the fight, stopping Ferguson via TKO in the fifth round, and thus ending Ferguson’s record of 12 wins in a row.
- Gaethje continued his bonus award streak, earning the Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night awards. This made Gaethje the only fighter in UFC history to win at least one fight night bonus in each of his first seven appearances.