Justin Gaethje came from a wrestling background, yet he has yet to shoot for a takedown in the UFC. However, that may change at UFC 286.
Gaethje has fought 10 times in the UFC – and will make the walk for the 11th time on Saturday – and has yet to shoot for a takedown. Although he is known for his brawling style, that does come as a surprise given he has the wrestling pedigree, but Gaethje says he hasn’t had to use it ever.
“I think it’s always something that you should make them think about,” Gaethje told CBS Sports. “So I’ll ponder that. It’s always a risk assessment, obviously. Up until I got TKOed by Eddie Alvarez, and the same with [Dustin] Poirier, I thought I was being more successful in that area. So I didn’t necessarily find it necessary to take that take shot. Against Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and [Charles] Oliveira, I didn’t want to take it to the ground because they’ve been doing jiu-jitsu their whole life and I’m a wrestler.”
Although Gaethje says he hasn’t had to wrestle, he admits he is likelier to wrestle Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286 than any other opponent. He said in the interview it’s about a 6/10 chance he shoots for his first UFC takedown, which is a lot higher than it has been in other fights.
If Justin Gaethje does wrestle Fiziev at UFC 286, it adds another wrinkle to the highly-anticipated fight. Yet, whether or not ‘The Highlight’ actually does indeed wrestle is another question as when he gets into the Octagon, his fights often turn into a brawl and Fight of the Year contenders which he expects this scrap to be anyway.
Gaethje enters his fight as the betting underdog and is coming off a submission loss to Charles Oliveira for the lightweight title.
Do you think Justin Gaethje will wrestle Rafael Fiziev?