Justin Gaethje’s collegiate wrestling background apparently made Jorge Masvidal assume that “The Highlight” would employ a grappling-heavy style when he made the jump over to MMA.
Arguably the most exciting fighter in the history of the sport, Gaethje is coming of a sensational performance at UFC 291 where he avenged his previous loss to Dustin Poirier with an incredible second-round head kick. The win also crowned Gaethje as the promotion’s new BMF champion, which is a title that “Gamebred” vacated following his retirement earlier this year.
Masvidal recently suggested he’d like to challenge “The Highlight” for the BMF belt, and during an interview with MiddleEasy the 38-year-old revealed how wrong his early assumption about Gaethje’s fighting style was.
“I would love to fight Gaethje because of his style,” Masvidal said. “And since he got into the game, I remember I already knew about him because he was an All-American wrestler. So I was like ‘Ah man, here we go again. We have another f***ing crotch-sniffing f***ing mother****er.’ And he wasn’t. He’s literally the complete opposite. I didn’t know Gaethje at the time or his mindset or anything.”
Jorge Masvidal Celebrates Justin Gaethje’s Fighting Style
Gaethje’s wrestling skills have rarely been on display during his recent fights, but even when the 34-year-old was taking opponents down earlier in his career Masvidal was still impressed.
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“As I was seeing him fight and progressing I was like ‘Holy smokes, this guy is doing everything but that.’ He actually was using his wrestling defensively. And it’s good to mix it up anyways, cause there’s a lot of guys that are just hugging and not doing anything, and those are the guys I call crotch sniffers. But if you’re coming in, you’re getting takedowns, you’re elbowing the guy in the face…That’s not a crotch sniffer, that’s a fighter bro. That’s who you’re supposed to be. And I was seeing Gaethje do that, and then he went full out MMA and he just does the standup.”
It’s hardly a surprise to hear Masvidal teasing a potential comeback considering he’s a veteran of more than 50 pro fights, but since retiring after UFC 287 he’s also been working hard to build his Gamebred Promotions and has a bareknuckle MMA event headlined by Junior dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum scheduled for next week.
Gaethje might welcome the chance to solidify his place as BMF champion if the original titleholder did elect to come out of retirement, however “The Highlight” is currently focused on a matchup with the winner of the UFC 294 lightweight title bout between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira.
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