Justin Gaethje in October 2018
|Born||Justin Ray Gaethje|
November 14, 1988
Safford, Arizona, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||155 lb (70 kg; 11.1 st)|
|Reach||70 in (178 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Arvada, Colorado, U.S.|
|Team||Genesis Training Center|
|Trainer||Trevor Wittman |
|Wrestling||NCAA Division I Wrestling|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|University||University of Northern Colorado|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Justin Ray Gaethje (//; born November 14, 1988) is an American professional mixed martial artist, who fights in the lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). As of January 20, 2020, he is #4 in the UFC lightweight rankings.
Born in Safford, Arizona, Gaethje began wrestling when he was four years old. He was a two-time Arizona state champion as a wrestler at Safford High School, and an NCAA Division I All-American during his time at the University of Northern Colorado. He began his amateur MMA career while in college, turned professional in 2011 and joined the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) in 2013, where he became Lightweight Champion. He defended his WSOF belt five times before vacating it to join the UFC in 2017.
Despite his wrestling background, Gaethje rarely looks for takedowns and is known for his aggressive stand-up fighting style. He has won 18 of his 21 wins by knockout or technical knockout and has received four Fight of the Night and three Performance of the Night awards in his six fights in the UFC.
Justin Ray Gaethje was born on November 14, 1988, in Safford, 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. He has a twin brother, Marcus John Gaethje, who has worked at the Morenci Mine since he was 18. Outside of MMA, Gaethje once spent a summer working at the Morenci Mine.
Gaethje wrestled for the University of Northern Colorado. As a junior, he placed 7th in the 2010 NCAA Division I 157 lb Championship and became the first (and only, as of 2017) Northern Colorado athlete to attain All-American status since the school joined Division I in 2006. He dropped down to the 149 lb division for his senior year, but had struggles with weight cutting. Gaethje also wrestled with a number of mixed martial artists such as Georges St-Pierre during his collegiate years.
Mixed martial arts 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.
World Series of Fighting
Gaethje 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.
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. Gaethje won the bout via split decision (28–29, 29–28, and 30–27).
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. 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 cancelled 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.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
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. Sherdog named this fight as the best fight of 2017, and round 2 of the fight as the best round of the year.
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 fight by TKO 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 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. Gaethje won the fight by knockout in the first round. He was also awarded a Performance of Night award, which was the fifth consecutive bonus award in his fourth fight in UFC.
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.
Championships and accomplishments
- National Collegiate Athletic Association
Mixed martial arts
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- World Series of Fighting
- WSOF Lightweight Championship (One time; first)
- Most consecutive title defenses (5)
- Most wins in title bouts (6)
- Longest lightweight winning streak (10)
- Most knockout wins (9)
- World MMA Awards
- Yahoo! Sports
- 2015 Best Fight of the Half-Year vs. Luis Palomino
- Bleacher Report
- CBS Sports
- Bloody Elbow
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|23 matches||21 wins||2 losses|
|Win||21–2||Donald Cerrone||TKO (punches)||UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Gaethje||September 14, 2019||1||4:18||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada||Performance of the Night.|
|Win||20–2||Edson Barboza||KO (punch)||UFC on ESPN: Barboza vs. Gaethje||March 30, 2019||1||2:30||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||19–2||James Vick||KO (punch)||UFC Fight Night: Gaethje vs. Vick||August 25, 2018||1||1:27||Lincoln, Nebraska, United States||Performance of the Night.|
|Loss||18–2||Dustin Poirier||TKO (punches)||UFC on Fox: Poirier vs. Gaethje||April 14, 2018||4||0:33||Glendale, Arizona, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Loss||18–1||Eddie Alvarez||KO (knee)||UFC 218||December 2, 2017||3||3:29||Detroit, Michigan, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||18–0||Michael Johnson||TKO (punches and knees)||The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale||July 7, 2017||2||4:48||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Performance of the Night. Fight of the Night.|
|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 (159 lbs).|
|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)||Rage in the Cage 164||November 16, 2012||2||0:19||Chandler, Arizona, United States|
|Win||6–0||Drew Fickett||KO (punch)||Rage in the Cage 163||October 20, 2012||1||0:12||Chandler, Arizona, United States||Catchweight (165 lbs) bout.|
|Win||5–0||Sam Young||Submission (rear-naked choke)||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||Lightweight debut.|
|Win||1–0||Kevin Croom||KO (slam)||ROF 41: Bragging Rights||August 20, 2011||1||1:01||Broomfield, Colorado, United States||Catchweight (159 lbs) bout.|
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- Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje to serve as coaches on 'The Ultimate Fighter'
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- "UFC on FOX 29 results: Dustin Poirier digs deep, stops Justin Gaethje in fourth round of chaotic clash". MMAjunkie. 2018-04-15. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
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- 2010 COL: NCAAs Division 1 C'Ships
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