Justin Gaethje Reflects On His UFC 300 KO Loss To Max Holloway, ‘Ready’ For Return After 6 Months

"The Highlight" opened up about his devastating KO loss to "Blessed" at UFC 300.

Justin Gaethje Talks Ufc 300 Loss
Justin Gaethje Talks Ufc 300 Loss - Image credit @justin_gaethje @UFC Instagram
  • Justin Gaethje recalled the key moments of his knockout loss to Max Holloway at UFC 300
  • “The Highlight” thinks he could be ready to return after six months

Justin Gaethje looked back at his tough knockout loss to Max Holloway at UFC 300 and provided a potential date for his return.

Max surprised Justin

Speaking to LeBatard Show, “The Highlight” admitted that “Blessed” surprised him in more ways than one. Gaethje also pointed out that the “momentum” shift played a key role in the fight and it went to Holloway’s favor after he broke his nose before the end of the opening round.

“It’s a momentum thing you know, I caught that kick at the end of the first round, broke my nose… momentum’s a hell of a thing to try to get back once you lose it and I think Max did such a good job at gaining that momentum and then keeping that through the fight… he was really good. He surprised me in a couple areas, how patient he was, I thought I was going to be able to pull him into a pull him into more of a fight and his patience really threw things off of me and all credit to him for for executing like that,” Gaethje said.

“Even before that [kick], he landed a good uppercut and [it] gave me a little buzz and you know just how fast he closed the distance, to me was very impressive, so I was like,’Oh sh*t!’,” he added.

The broken nose didn’t affect Justin’s breathing

Gaethje also made it clear that Holloway gained momentum and confidence after he landed the kick before the end of first round but contrary to what some believed, it didn’t affect his breathing.

“The crazy thing was the last one second, neither one of my coaches that were coming into the cage saw it happened. They were working their way into the cage… So they didn’t see it happen. Coach and I sat down and Coach was like, ‘What the hell happened? You broke your nose!’… I was feeling my nose, I was trying to see how crooked it was. That’s the first time I ever broke my nose in a fight,” Gaethje recalled.

“I don’t think it did [affect my breathing] I mean, I felt really good in there you know I felt amazing in there,” he added.

It was a close fight

For “The Highlight,” it was a dog fight from start to finish and if Holloway didn’t knock him out, it would’ve been a tough fight to judge.

“I felt like I was losing you know but you just never know I think obviously, I think I won the fourth round and I think the second round was close. I landed some very heavy leg kicks so you never know I think he was probably up 3-1 on the judges’ scorecard. It could have been 2-2 on a conservative judge’s scorecard and so we were both kind of fighting for everything,” Gaethje assessed.

Ready after six months

Gaethje also revealed that his plan is to work on his cardio while recovering. Admittedly, “The Highlight” knows it would take time before he could go in full training again. At this point, Gaethje thinks he could be ready after six months.

“Metaphorically, I could be ready tomorrow but physically I think, again, I want to take care of myself. I do think that repeated concussions you know with me going to sleep like that, me receiving that shot, it would be foolish for me to jump back into training anytime before 180 days,” Gaethje said.

“I could do cardio. I can stay in shape that’s what I want to try to do especially the older I get, the harder it is to get back to the best shape of my life so I want to stay active you know but obviously the physical contact is going to be limited for quite some time just because I want to preserve myself… I think six months at least is before I get back to taking shots but that doesn’t say that I won’t be training…we’ll see. It’s a crazy game, see how the Dustin and Makhachev fight goes yeah, crazy game,” he added.


Gaethje is currently the No. 3 lightweight contender. Prior to losing to Holloway, he was coming off back-to-back wins over fellow top contenders in Dustin Poirier and Rafael Fiziev.

With Poirier already set to become Islam Makhachev’s next challenger, Gaethje would have to wait and see who between him and Arman Tsarukyan will be next in line.

Watch Gaethje’s full interview below:

Published on April 23, 2024 at 10:57 am
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