During the heigh of his reign as World Series of Fighting (RIP) lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje stood out as one of the best lightweights outside the UFC. He can longer lay claim to that title.
This is not because he was defeated. Instead, it’s because he no longer competes outside the UFC. Earlier this year, we learned that the all-action lightweight talent had signed with the UFC. Shortly thereafter, news broke that he would make his debut against dangerous lightweight striking specialist Michael Johnson. Gaethje and Johnson will collide at The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption finale on July 7 in glimmering Las Vegas, Nevada.
If you never got to watch Gaethje compete in the WSOF cage, there are a few things you should know about him. First, he’s undefeated, as the owner of an incredible, 17-0 overall record. Second, he didn’t amass this record by scoring boring or competitive decisions. Nearly every one of Gaethje’s pro fights has been a barnburner, and all but three have ended by knockout. Third, Gaethje didn’t carve out his impressive record against bums. Over the course of his career, he has battled respectable talent in Drew Fickett, Gesias Cavalcante, Dan Lauzon, Nick Newell, Melvin Guillard, Luis Palomino (twice), Brian Foster, and Luis Firmino. This guy is the real deal, and one of the most exciting fighters on the planet.
But hey, don’t just take our word for it. Watch Gaethje’s knockout-filled highlight reel at the top of this post.
Gaethje will enter his fight with Johnson having gone 10-0 in the WSOF cage, earning all but one of those wins by knockout or TKO. Johnson, meanwhile, will enter the fight with plans to rebound from a tough, November loss to another undefeated fighter in Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Who are you picking in this compelling Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Johnson lightweight scrap?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/22/2017.