Despite having a background in wrestling, former NCAA Division I wrestler Justin Gaethje chooses not to wrestle in the UFC because it takes up far too much energy, according to a recent interview with Brendan Schaub on Below the Belt.
Gaethje, who is known in the UFC for his highlight reel knockouts, revealed to Schaub that he was ‘almost unable to walk’ after his wrestling matches in college.
Justin Gaethje on why he doesn't like to wrestle in MMA pic.twitter.com/BgANdbuBsu— Proper Vegetables (@thegam3r357) June 22, 2020
“I was always against it [wrestling] because I was gonna get tired,” Gaethje said. “I walked off a seven minute match — almost every time — almost unable to walk.
“The way I wrestle or the way I do anything is not to preserve energy. I don’t wrestle to preserve energy.”
Gaethje’s comments could serve as fuel for Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is widely considered the best wrestler in the sport and one of the greatest sambo wrestlers of all time. Nurmagomedov overwhelms most of his opponents with his offensive grappling, so Gaethje will have to come prepared.
The two are expected to meet in a lightweight title unification bout at UFC 253 on September 19, although the date hasn’t yet been confirmed. Gaethje last fought at UFC 249, where he TKO’d Tony Ferguson in the fifth round to capture the interim lightweight title. ‘The Highlight’ is on a four-fight KO/TKO streak and widely considered one of the most dangerous fighters in the division.