Gaethje om KO-förlusten mot Alvarez: “En dröm som gick i uppfyllelse”
Att Justin Gaethje inte är som alla andra blir uppenbart när du ser honom slåss men “The Highlight” väljer också att se saker ur ett annorlunda perspektiv.
In en intervju med MMA-journalisten Ariel Helwani använde 29-åriga Gaethje ett annorlunda ordval för att beskriva karriärens första nederlag under UFC 218 den 2 december.
Innan matchen mot den före detta lättviktsmästaren Eddie Alvarez hade Gaethje lyckats besegra arton motståndare men denna gång slutade det i karriärens första förlust:
“Looking back, it lived up to the hype,” sade Gaethje under måndagens The MMA Hour. “I told people before that I had the ‘Fight of the Year’ until I fought again, and that’s what I do. It’s what I do every time. I get a bonus every time, and man, I really had a lot of fun in there. That’s first and foremost. It was the time of my life. Honestly, being in front of that many people, being able to put my skills on the line at the highest level on a pay-per-view, all of those things, it was a dream come true for me.
“I have to keep reminding myself that I lost,” fortsatte Gaethje. “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. All of those things came true. I love the sport, I’m a fan of MMA, I’ve been a fan of MMA since before I started it, I was a fan of Eddie Alvarez before I started fighting, so just the culmination of events that have transpired in my life through hard work, through specifically hard work, 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.” *
*Transkriberat av MMA Fighting
“Alvarez är en krigare”
Gaethje må ha förlorat matchen men han vann många fans under mötet mot Alvarez och han är fortfarande topprankad.
Gaethje hade endast bra saker att säga om sin motståndare:
“Man, he’s tough. He’s a warrior,” sade Gaethje om Alvarez. “I bring it out of people. I’ve been telling people I need to start smiling to my opponents and shaking hands and just being nice, so then when the bell rings, I catch them off-guard, because I used to catch people off-guard, but everyone’s ready now. They know I’m coming full of fury, and he was ready. He was so in shape and his cardio was on point. I couldn’t break him. I broke 18 people in a row. And on my 19th fight, I found someone that I could not break, and I enjoyed it. I appreciated it.
“When he threw that knee, it was perfect timing, perfect spot,” fortsatte Gaethje. “He kind of rope-a-doped me. We were sitting there, not relaxing, but I kinda got relaxed for a second because I was so comfortable in the clinch right there, landing those hard uppercuts, and I think we were talking to each other, like, ‘Aha, good one, good one,’ and I was like, ‘Ah, fuck, you’re bringing it all. I’m right here.’ And I think that’s when he kneed me, or it was pretty close to that. But man, I loved it. I love what I do.”
Trots att han nu tänker ta en kort paus från träningen så säger Gaethje att han ser fram emot att ge någon lägre rankad fighter en chans.
“When you win, you get to pick someone in front of you to fight. But when you lose — I’m still ranked No. 5 in the world in the UFC, so coming off a loss, now I get to give someone behind me a chance,” sade Gaethje om framtiden. “And we’ll see which one of these loudmouths — Kevin Lee, Dustin Poirier — one of them is going to have to get me on my comeback, so I’m excited for that.”
Vem vill du se Gaethje möta i sin retur?