Expect Justin Gaethje to Hit the UFC Running

World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo sent out a surprise tweet on Thursday saying, “Wishing @Justin_Gaethje all the best fighting for @UFC & excited to crown a new $1 million Lightweight champion.” While the $1 million price tag to a tournament winner is noteworthy, the key takeaway from that tweet is the exodus of perhaps World Series of Fighting’s most popular fighter, Justin Gaethje. 

The undefeated lightweight champion has started his pro MMA career with 17 consecutive victories. He’s fought a whopping 10 times in WSOF, winning nine of them by knockout or TKO. He had been a staple for an organization that was trying to find its place in the MMA landscape. What Gaethje brought to WSOF was a consistent performer whom was a guarantee to put on a show. Gaethje’s fighting style is of the “kill or be killed” approach. His aggression is what set him apart from anyone else in WSOF and what made him one of the most sought after free agents in MMA.

From the opening bell of a fight, Gaethje’s mindset was to finish his opponent. The pace which he sets in his bouts doesn’t give his opponent anytime to breathe. It’s a very similar approach to which recently signed UFC bantamweight Tom Duquesnoy takes when he fights. It is full on aggression until his opponent relents. In that process, like Duquesnoy, he’s willing to take punches to make things happen. I think that’s what makes Gaethje such an exciting fighter to watch is that there are moments, albeit short, where he shows some vulnerability, but in the end, he’s able to finish opponents and do so in style.

Gaethje is a fighter that the UFC could plug right into their July 25th fight card on FOX Network from Long Island. With a large audience on over the air television in the United States, Gaethje is the perfect fighter to open the main card. It’s a great opportunity to introduce him to their fan base putting him on the telecast that will provide the largest audience.

Usually, the UFC likes to have a significant back story to the fighters on the free FOX cards, so Gaethje’s debut and willingness to prove himself in the world’s largest MMA promotion is a story that fits the narrative. The UFC can match Gaethje with a like-minded fighter such as Paul Felder, Jim Miller or James Vick in his debut that will provide him with just enough of a test to see where he currently stacks in the UFC’s lightweight hierarchy. If there’s one thing we know for sure about the former WSOF lightweight champion, it is that he will be a favorite for a “Fight of the Night” bonus in his UFC debut. He will entertain fans from the opening bell.

Written by Jay Primetown

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