Justin Gaethje hopes his resilience and pain threshold stand the biggest test they have been posed with to date as "The Highlight" heads into his blockbuster main event clash against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 for the interim UFC lightweight title on Saturday night.
Ferguson is an unpredictable fighter with various facets to his game that often tend to catch his opponents off guard. Gaethje is aware of Ferguson's abilities and knows that he won't come out of the fight with a pretty face.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Gaethje praised Ferguson by calling him "unique" and saying he's as good a fighter as they come. However, The Highlight is also aware of the fact that it only takes one good shot to finish the fight and he believes he possesses the skill to land it.
“I’d be a fool to go in there and think I’m going to get out of there unscathed. Nine of 10 times, that’s not going to happen. We have seen him get hit, we’ve never seen him get finished. I know how hard it’s going to be to find the shot, but it only takes one, and I possess the skills and the power to land it. Tony is a very unique fighter, and it’s going to take time and patience to figure out how to be successful.”
Ferguson is a tougher challenge than Khabib Nurmagomedov, believes Gaethje
Gaethje said that Ferguson is the more challenging opponent compared to reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov because the latter has a gameplan that everyone knows about and can prepare accordingly for (although that's never stopped Khabib from winning) whereas what sets Ferguson apart from the rest is the mystique factor. Gaethje believes Ferguson's unpredicatable fighting style will be very difficult to deal with inside the Octagon.
“I think the puzzle is going to be harder. There’s so many unknows with Tony. You know what Khabib is going to do, and that’s going to be take you down, try to push you against the fence. And if not, he’s going to try and take shots from the space in the middle of the octagon. I believe that he can’t take me down in the middle of the octagon, and I can stay off the fence. So that puzzle is written. How do you beat Tony? I don’t know. I’m going to find out.”