Justin Gaethje knows he won’t be able to go a full 25 minutes against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, but is confident he’ll earn a stoppage win.
On Monday it was announced that Gaethje was stepping in on short notice against Ferguson on April 18 for the UFC’s interim lightweight title. The news came as a surprise to many, as “The Highlight” has opted against taking short-notice fights in the past. However, fighting for the belt was too big of a opportunity to pass up on.
Fighting Ferguson is no doubt a tough task and doing so with only two weeks to prepare makes it harder. Gaethje even admits he probably will only be able to go 18 or 19 minutes. But, he expects to finish Ferguson before that.
“Uhm, you know that’s a hard question that’s a very hard question because me being a realist I have to be real and I have to be honest when you ask me that question. I know I got about 18 to 19 minutes of pure hell, pure fury and I know how hard I hit,” Gaethje said to ESPN. “But, after that, it is going to be extremely tough to fight with Tony Ferguson in that space. I think I’m 90 percent right now and I’ll be closer to 95 percent. I’ve made some big sacrifices in the last 10 days, I’ve lost 12 pounds and I have not cheated one time. When I go in there I will give 100 percent as I do every time. Humans recognize effort, and I will give you max effort.”
This will be the first time Justin Gaethje steps up on short notice. But, he has prepared for five-round fights before and has only ever hit the championship rounds once. So, he is confident that 18 to 19 minutes is enough time to put away Tony Ferguson.
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/7/2020.