Watch: Justin Gaethje demonstrates how to counter the calf kick that destroyed Conor McGregor at UFC 257

Justin Gaethje lands a perfect leg kick on Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Justin Gaethje lands a perfect leg kick on Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Anurag Mitra
Modified 24 Mar 2021

UFC lightweight contender Justin Gaethje is known for throwing vicious calf kicks at his opponents during fights. He also knows how to defend the damaging kicks and just happened to demonstrate the same recently.

Calf kicks have been a rage in the UFC recently. Fighters who have successfully incorporated the skillset into their game have often demonstrated the severely damaging effects of the kick during fights.

Most recently, Dustin Poirier used calf kicks to devastating effect against former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor in their rematch at UFC 257.

Former interim 155lbs champion Justin Gaethje was seen demonstrating how to effectively counter the calf kicks that spelled doom for Conor McGregor at UFC 257.

Citing his fight against Edson Barboza as an example, Gaethje demonstrated how to effectively avoid calf kicks by staying on your toes, stepping away, and opening up the lead leg slightly to let the knee absorb the impact of the kicks.

"If you watch the fight between me and Barboza, the first 20 seconds, he's going to calf kick me so he goes for the calf kick and I go here [takes a step back] and then he stops, you know, because he's going to kick my knee. You don't want to turn both legs too much, because then you have to come home. Stay on the toes, point your knee so if I go to kick you, you're cool."

How Dustin Poirier's calf-kicks contributed towards Conor McGregor's first TKO loss

UFC 257: Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor
UFC 257: Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor

Although Conor McGregor started in signature fashion, lighting Poirier up like a Christmas tree, the story of the fight was about to change soon. McGregor was finding his counterpart's chin with ease in the first round. But once Poirier managed to survive the shots, he countered by landing check-hooks and hard calf kicks on the Irishman.

The Notorious One was taken aback by Poirier's strategy of chomping away on the lead leg and had no answer for the calf kicks. While he tried to check them later in the fight, the technique was clearly wrong, and even the checked kicks hurt the Irishman.


Once Conor McGregor's lead leg was dead, he got stuck in a really bad position against the fence. McGregor couldn't escape nor properly defend himself due to the calf kicks' damaging effects, and Poirier capitalized.

He teed off on the compromised Irishman and knocked him out to earn the biggest win of his veteran career in the UFC.

Published 24 Mar 2021, 14:32 IST
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