Justin Gaethje is all set to face UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight title unification bout later this summer. The clash is expected to take place on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, although the venue hasn't been confirmed yet.
Nurmagomedov was originally slated to defend his title against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, but the circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Russian Champion to pull out of the bout, making it an interim title fight featuring Justin Gaethje and Ferguson.
Justin Gaethje beat the odds and handed Tony Ferguson his first loss in 12 fights, winning the Interim Championship in the process. Justin Gaethje is known as one of the most explosive and exciting fighters on the roster, with every fight of his in the UFC having a finish.
Justin Gaethje explains why he doesn't like to wrestle in MMA
Despite Gaethje's extensive wrestling background, it's something that he seemingly never uses. When asked about why he doesn't wrestle on Brendan Schaub's Below The Belt, Gaethje said:
“I was always against it [wrestling] because I was gonna get tired,” Gaethje said. “I walked off a seven minute match — almost every time — almost unable to walk.
He said it has a lot to do with preserving his energy:
“The way I wrestle or the way I do anything is not to preserve energy. I don’t wrestle to preserve energy.”
It makes sense, but it could be a major problem when facing Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Russian Champion is considered to be the most prolific wrestler on the roster and is known for his vicious "ground-and-pound" style of fighting.
His grappling is on such an elite level that even the best of the best weren't able to work around him despite knowing what his strategy is. Justin Gaethje is on a four-fight win streak now and will attempt to become the first man in Nurmagomedov's MMA career to hand him a defeat. There's no doubt that he's going to be a big underdog heading into this bout as well.