Justin Gaethje

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Justin Gaethje
Born Justin Gaethje
(1988-11-14) November 14, 1988 (age 28)
Safford, Arizona, United States
Other names The Highlight
Nationality American
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 155 lb (70 kg; 11.1 st)
Division Lightweight
Reach 71.0 in (180 cm)
Stance Orthodox
Fighting out of Arvada, Colorado
Team Genesis Training Center (2016–present)
Grudge Training Center (2011–2016)
Trainer Trevor Wittman[1]
Wrestling NCAA Division I
Years active 2008–present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 17
Wins 17
By knockout 14
By submission 1
By decision 2
Losses 0
Amateur career
Total 7
Wins 7
By knockout 4
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Justin Gaethje (/ˈɡi/; born November 14, 1988) is an American professional mixed martial artist who is currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He competes in the Lightweight division and is the former WSOF Lightweight Champion.

Early and personal life[edit]

Gaethje was born on November 14, 1988 in Safford, Arizona to Caroline, a postmaster, and Ray Gaethje, a copper miner.[2][3][4] His father is of German descent, and his mother is of Mexican descent. He has a twin brother, Marcus Gaethje.[4]

Outside of MMA, he is pursuing a degree in Human Services and intends to do social work with at-risk youth in the future.[2]


High school[edit]

Gaethje began wrestling at the age of four,[5] and attended Safford High School,[6] where he was a four-time finalist and two-time Arizona state champion as a wrestler.[7]


Gaethje received a scholarship to wrestle for the University of Northern Colorado. Following the 2009-10 season, he became the first Northern Colorado athlete to attain All-American status since the school joined Division I in 2006. He finished 7th in the NCAA Championships.[2][8] Gaethje also wrestled with a number of mixed martial artists such as Georges St-Pierre during college.[9]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

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.[10]

World Series of Fighting[edit]

He was signed by the World Series of Fighting on January 22, 2013, and made his debut 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.[11]

At WSOF 3 he fought Brian Cobb, eventually winning via TKO from leg kicks in the third round.[12]

Afterwards, he fought Dan Lauzon at WSOF 6, finishing Lauzon with a right uppercut in the second round.[13]

Gaethje headlined WSOF 8 against Richard Patishnock and became the inaugural WSOF Lightweight Champion after dispatching Patishnock in the first round via TKO.[14]

His first title defense was at WSOF 11 against Nick Newell.[15] Gaethje won the fight with a right hook TKO in the second round.[16]

On November 15, 2014, Gaethje faced UFC veteran and former training partner Melvin Guillard at WSOF 15.[17] The fight was ruled a non-title contest after Guillard missed weight. Gaethje won the bout via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29).[18]

He then went on to fight Luis Palomino at WSOF 19, Gaethje beat Palomino via TKO in the third round.[19] The LA Times named this fight as the best fight of 2015.[20]

He had a rematch against Luis Palomino at WSOF 23 and defended his belt, finishing Palomino in the second round.[21]

At WSOF 29, he defended his belt again by defeating Brian Foster via TKO at 1:43 of the first round.[22][23][24]

On March 15, 2016, Gaethje was suspended indefinitely by the Colorado State Athletic Commission for "unsportsmanlike conduct" after he backflipped off the top of the cage in his post-fight celebration at WSOF 29.[25] The suspension was lifted a day later.[26][27]

Gaethje was expected to defend the WSOF Lightweight Championship against Ozzy Dugulubgov at WSOF 33 on October 7, 2016.[28] However, the bout was cancelled on the day of the event as Dugulubgov was stricken with illness.[29]

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.[30] However, an injury forced Zeferino to withdraw from the bout and he was replaced by Luiz Firmino.[31] Gaethje won the bout by TKO via doctor stoppage due to Firmino's right eye being swollen after round three.[32]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

On May 4, 2017, Gaethje announced he had signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.[33] It was announced on May 12 that he would make his debut against Michael Johnson on July 7, at the The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption finale.[34]


Gaethje is endorsed by Fuzion Vapor and Bulge Clothing Brand.[35][36]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 17–0 Luiz Firmino TKO (doctor stoppage) WSOF 34 December 31, 2016 3 5:00 New York City, New York, United States Defended the WSOF Lightweight Championship.
Win 16–0 Brian Foster TKO (leg kicks) WSOF 29 March 12, 2016 1 1:43 Greeley, Colorado, United States Defended the WSOF Lightweight Championship.
Win 15–0 Luis Palomino TKO (punches) WSOF 23 September 18, 2015 2 4:30 Phoenix, Arizona, United States Defended the WSOF Lightweight Championship.
Win 14–0 Luis Palomino TKO (leg kicks and punches) WSOF 19 March 28, 2015 3 3:57 Phoenix, Arizona, United States Defended the WSOF Lightweight Championship.
Win 13–0 Melvin Guillard Decision (split) WSOF 15 November 15, 2014 3 5:00 Tampa, Florida, United States Non-title bout, Guillard missed weight (159lbs).
Win 12–0 Nick Newell TKO (punches) WSOF 11 July 5, 2014 2 3:09 Daytona Beach, Florida, United States Defended the WSOF Lightweight Championship.
Win 11–0 Richard Patishnock TKO (punches and elbows) WSOF 8 January 18, 2014 1 1:09 Hollywood, Florida, United States Won the WSOF Lightweight Championship.
Win 10–0 Dan Lauzon KO (punches) WSOF 6 October 28, 2013 2 1:40 Coral Gables, Florida, United States
Win 9–0 Brian Cobb TKO (leg kicks) WSOF 3 June 14, 2013 3 2:19 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 8–0 Gesias Cavalcante TKO (doctor stoppage) WSOF 2 March 23, 2013 1 2:27 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 7–0 Adrian Valdez TKO (punches) RITC - Rage in the Cage 164 November 16, 2012 2 0:19 Chandler, Arizona, United States
Win 6–0 Drew Fickett KO (punch) RITC - Rage in the Cage 163 October 20, 2012 1 0:12 Chandler, Arizona, United States
Win 5–0 Sam Young Submission (rear-naked choke) RITC - Rage in the Cage 162 September 29, 2012 2 1:58 Chandler, Arizona, United States
Win 4–0 Marcus Edwards Decision (unanimous) ROF 43 - Bad Blood June 2, 2012 3 5:00 Broomfield, Colorado, United States
Win 3–0 Donnie Bell TKO (punches) ROF 42 - Who's Next December 17, 2011 2 2:57 Broomfield, Colorado, United States
Win 2–0 Joe Kelso TKO (punches) BTT MMA 2 - Genesis October 1, 2011 1 4:32 Pueblo, Colorado, United States
Win 1–0 Kevin Croom KO (slam) ROF 41 - Bragging Rights August 20, 2011 1 1:01 Broomfield, Colorado, United States

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Justin Gaethje: The Demolition Man Justin Gaethje". flocombat.com. December 19, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "Former UNC All-American wrestler Gaethje to headline MMA fighting event in Greeley". greeleytribune.com. March 11, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Fight Path: Miner's son Justin Gaethje ready to unleash patented slams at WSOF 2". mmajunkie.com. March 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Justin Gaethje: From the copper mines to the smiling fields of gold". mmafighting.com. January 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ "WSOF champ Justin Gaethje: I won't take a pay cut to go to the UFC". bloodyelbow.com. March 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ "MMA practically a birthright for WSOF champ Gaethje". orlandosentinel.com. June 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Former UNC Wrestling Standout Justin Gaethje Returns to Campus to Defend MMA Championship". unco.edu. March 8, 2016. 
  8. ^ "The Beaten Path: Prospect Justin Gaethje Is Newest Member of Long MMA Tradition". bleacherreport.com. October 24, 2013. 
  11. ^ "WSOF 2 results recap: Justin Gaethje vs Gesias Cavalcante fight review and analysis". mmamania.com. March 24, 2013. 
  12. ^ "WSOF 3 Results: Fitch vs. Burkman". mmafighting.com. June 14, 2013. 
  13. ^ "World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 6 recap for 'Burkman vs Carl' on NBC Sports". mmamania.com. October 27, 2013. 
  14. ^ "WSOF 8 Results: Gaethje vs. Patishnock". mmafighting.com. January 18, 2014. 
  15. ^ "WSOF's Justin Gaethje: I'd rather prove myself as best in the world than make a million dollars". sports.yahoo.com. July 3, 2014. 
  16. ^ "LIVE WSOF 11 results". mmamania.com. July 5, 2014. 
  17. ^ "For WSOF champ Justin Gaethje, who needs Wikipedia when you’ve got heavy hands?". mmafighting.com. November 14, 2014. 
  18. ^ "WSOF 15 results: Branch stops Okami, Aguilar and Gaethje win decisions". mmamania.com. November 16, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Justin Gaethje defends WSOF title". espn.go.com. March 29, 2016. 
  20. ^ "MMA rankings: Luke Rockhold puts middleweight division on notice". latimes.com. April 22, 2015. 
  21. ^ "WSOF 23 results recap: Video highlights, .gifs and more for 'Gaethje vs Palomino 2'". mmamania.com. September 19, 2015. 
  22. ^ "WSOF 29 video: Champ Justin Gaethje chops down Brian Foster with brutal leg kicks". mmajunkie.com. March 13, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Free agent heavyweight Matt Mitrione decides to sign with Bellator". reviewjournal.com. March 14, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Unsportsmanlike Conduct Following WSOF 29 Sidelines Justin Gaethje Indefinitely". yahoo.com. March 15, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Justin Gaethje taken off ‘indefinite suspension' after talk with Colorado commission". mmafighting.com. March 16, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Colorado Lifts WSOF Champ Justin Gaethje's Indefinite Suspension". sports.yahoo.com. March 16, 2016. 
  28. ^ "With 3-hour broadcast, 6-bout WSOF 33 main card complete with Nurmagomedov-Howard". mmajunkie.com. August 30, 2016. 
  29. ^ "Tonight's Justin Gaethje vs. Ozzy Dugulubgov WSOF 33 headliner canceled". mmajunkie.com. October 7, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Three title fights set for WSOF’s debut in New York". mmafighting.com. October 17, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Zeferino out, Justin Gaethje vs. Luiz Firmino now headlines WSOF: NYC". bloodyelbow.com. December 13, 2016. 
  32. ^ "WORLD SERIES OF FIGHTING 34 RESULTS: PLAY-BY-PLAY & ROUND-BY-ROUND SCORING". sherdog.com. December 31, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Justin Gaethje Says UFC Contract Signed, Wants ‘Scariest Lightweight Possible’". sherdog.com. May 4, 2017. 
  34. ^ "The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale". Ultimate Fighting Championship. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  35. ^ "Safford’s Gaethje signs deal with Fuzion Vapor". eacourier.com. June 13, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Another endorsement deal for WSOF champ Gaethje". eacourier.com. July 31, 2015. 
  37. ^ "MMAjunkie's 'Fight of the Month' for March: A true WSOF slugfest". mmajunkie.com. April 3, 2015. 
  38. ^ "MMAjunkie's 'Fight of the Month' for September: Rematch brings another win". mmajunkie.com. October 2, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Best of 2015: MMA half-year awards". sports.yahoo.com. June 29, 2015.