Justin Gaethje has built a reputation for himself in the cage, as a fighter entirely confident in his ability to perform under pressure. It’s come with a style that also puts himself directly in harms way. Most recently, it put him in the way of an Eddie Alvarez knee, and the first loss of Gaethje’s pro-MMA career.
After the Alvarez fight, the ‘Highlight’ made it clear that his confidence in the way he fights, and his dedication to putting himself in the line of fire, was anything other than a mistake. In fact, he sounded like he couldn’t be happier.
“I have to keep reminding myself that I lost,” Gaethje told Ariel Helwani in an interview on the MMA Hour. “I don’t know. I signed up for this. I said it before, I said it many times, that I was going to lose (eventually). If I lost, I hoped that I would get knocked out” … “It’s just, I’m happy. I’m happy for myself. I’m happy for my family. I’ve been trying to prepare my mom and sisters for all of that for a long time, so when it did happen, they were like, ‘Well, you’ve kinda prepared us for this.’ So it wasn’t that bad.”
And it’s likely that mindset – not to mention support for his teammate Rose Namajunas – that has the Colorado-based fighter coming down hard on former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Jedrzejczyk is also looking to bounce back from the first loss of her MMA career, to Namajunas at UFC 217. But, where Gaethje has fully embraced getting KO’d as part of the game, Jedrzejczyk has been – to paraphrase Gaethje – making “weak-minded” excuses. Most notably, Joanna pointed the finger at her nutrition team, who she says ‘failed’ her with a difficult weight cut.
“I don’t know her or what happened to her, so I can’t judge her for it. I think she’s weak-minded for saying it, even if it is true,” Gaethje told MMA Fighting. “It’s her own business. And no matter what, it could be true to the core and you could have proof, who’s going to [care]? Like, I’m not going to…