- Justin Gaethje credits his UFC 291 win over Dustin Poirier to his different mental approach
- “The Highlight” doesn’t want to fight in Abu Dhabi again ever unless it’s for a title fight
Justin Gaethje is still savoring his sensation UFC 291 win over Dustin Poirier. He is not really thinking about Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira but if there’s anything he could say about it at the moment, “The Highlight” said he wouldn’t want to fight the winner in Abu Dhabi.
A different approach got the job Done
Speaking to ESPN MMA, Gaethje reflected on how a different mental approach helped him become more focused on the fight alone which led to the results he wanted.
“I made a huge mistake and I really got caught up in the moment when I fought Charles Oliveira like if you look at the difference between my walk out in this fight and the Charles Oliveira fight, like I am a different person. I do not recognize the person that fought Oliveir,” Gaethje explained. “… It’s still a battle that I’m gonna face every single time I step in there, is to not get caught up in the what are we doing, what’s it for you know, outside of just being present and trusting in my preparation and trusting in my intuition and being calm in that sense or in that arena and I think again it was just a mistake I made it was kind of the last learning lesson that I needed because I still wasn’t convinced that whether I’m aggressive or not aggressive I didn’t think that was a huge factor I thought I would still perform the same way but it’s certainly was a detriment to my performance that night.”
“[In my walk out] I’m skipping towards the cage, I’m singing a song that I don’t even understand the words to you know, kind of like Dustin came out you know just hyped up, Dustin came out for a war and I gave him a ballet and it was it was the best thing I could have done I mean he was expecting a war and I gave him the opposite and I guarantee that frustrated him and he was probably very surprised and it was perfect it worked out perfect on my end,” he continued.
Just not Abu Dhabi
When asked if he would fly to Abu Dhabi to watch Makhachev defend his lightweight title against Oliveira, Gaethje, who is likely to be the next title challenger, made it clear that he’s okay to go there and watch the bout but if Islam wins, as much as possible, he doesn’t want the fight to happen there.
“I have no plans but I’m not against it you know I didn’t get to experience it I was locked up in a hotel, I didn’t see the sun for 10 days before I fought and so I know when I go out there and COVID isn’t a thing that I’ll be able to enjoy the culture much more, enjoy the food and so I’m not against going out there to watch it, I just don’t prefer to ever fight there again like that’s my preference honestly, but if it’s for a world title, we’ll do some crazy things, you don’t have to go out there a month early,” Gaethje pointed out.
Gaethje’s comments attributed to his complain about the food and water in Abu Dhabi when he faced Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254.
Aside from becoming the UFC’s new BMF, Gaethje became the favorite to compete for the lightweight belt. For “The Highlight,” a chance to fight Makhachev is also a chance to avenge his loss to Khabib. He also feels the same way as Oliveira, who submitted him at UFC 274.