Justin Gaethje could possibly change his family’s lives with a win at UFC 254.
Gaethje (22-2) is set to face the reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) this Saturday in Abu Dhabi. Gaethje, who captured the interim title at UFC 249 against Tony Ferguson, is faced with the opportunity of a lifetime: becoming UFC champion. The task won’t be easy. To do so he would have to beat the undefeated Nurmagomedov. But to be in this position is already an amazing accomplishment and for that, Gaethje credits his parents.
Gaethje’s parents attended every single one of his fights except his latest one against Tony Ferguson due to the pandemic. But they will be in attendance for UFC 254 to see their son on the biggest stage. At the pre-fight presser, Gaethje reflected on his career and how much of his success is due to his parents.
“My parents had never flown international.” Gaethje said, “They got to fly business class, they had never flown business class. My dad retired over a year ago, he worked 37 years in a copper mine. My mom, she’s going to retire after this fight. If this fight starts, if that bell rings in the beginning, then I’ll secure that she will retire after this fight.”
He then deeper explained why he has so much respect for what his parents have done for him and his siblings.
“Every piece of money they had went into me. my brother and my sister” Gaethje said, “We were two hours from any city, going school-clothes shopping was a vacation for us. We’d get up and go to wrestling tournaments, we had to drive two-three hours. Sometimes we’d stay the night, an they financially took hits every single time we did that. Nothing is better on earth than being able to repay that.”
“When I step in that octagon, nothing matters. They’re not there, my coach Trevor Whittman is there, that’s the only voice that I can hear. An that’s all that matters to me but I’m very happy that they get to experience this.”
Gaethje rides four fights winning streak with four finishes. He will carry that momentum into the octagon when he faces Khabib Nurmagomedov on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.