UFC lightweight superstar Justin ‘The Highlight‘ Gaethje has been a fan favorite even before his UFC debut. The 34-year-old grabbed everyone’s attention during his WSOF reign. However, this time the Colorado resident has come under the spotlight for something that didn’t happen inside a cage. A video resurfaced on Twitter which shows Gaethje making remarks about jiu-jitsu and the insignificance of its sole use in a fight.
The clip making the rounds dates back to 2017 when Justin served as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter season 26, opposite former champion Eddie Alvarez. While putting on his coach hat, Justin appears to have a pep talk with Gillian Anderson, one of the 125 lbs contestants on the show.
Justin added, “You wanna stay away from striking, but you’ve got good striking. So you need to believe in yourself, especially in the whole ‘getting into scrambles’ type of thing.’ You can never win, this is not wrestling or jiu-jitsu, or kickboxing. It’s all of it combined. So you can never win a fight off your back, on your back, or with your back on the cage.”
“That’s just the name of the game. Even if you’re almost getting submissions from the bottom, you’re not gonna win those,” added Gaethje.
What do you think of Justin Gaethje's comments here? pic.twitter.com/6SdHd5MvYd
— MK🇿🇦🇲🇼 (@MK2796_SA) March 26, 2023
For the former title challenger, these comments aged like milk. The 34-year-old went on to first challenge for the lightweight title at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi. However, the then-champion Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted Justin in the 2nd round with ease via a triangle choke. It is noteworthy that this was the first time anyone submitted ‘The Highlight’ in the promotion.
In May 2022, Gaethje would attempt to grab the vacant lightweight belt at UFC 274 against Charles Oliveira. After heavy shots connecting from both sides, ‘Do Bronx’ submitted Justin via a rear naked choke inside the very first round. While Gaethje has never been prone to a boring fight inside the Octagon, the 34-year-old sure does need some work to do on the ground.
Justin Gaethje was a coach in The Ultimate Fighter Season 26
Shortly after forfeiting his WSOF lightweight belt, Justin made his UFC debut in July 2017. He locked horns against a veteran in Michael Johnson at the TUF 25 Finale, finishing the latter via TKO in the 2nd round. Shortly after, president Dana White announced Justin Gaethje and former champion Eddie Alvarez as The Ultimate Fighter 26 coaches.
The show aired for six consecutive weeks while being filmed in Las Vegas. Season 26 featured the debut of women’s flyweights, with the finale crowning the promotion’s very first 125 lbs champion. The stable of fighters included TUF alumni, a UFC veteran, and a former Invicta FC flyweight champion, all trying to make it to the top. The show saw some great contests, monumental finishes, and a couple of upsets.
Coaches Gaethje and Alvarez battled it out on the main card of UFC 218 in December of the same year. The duo promised fireworks and they delivered. Eddie spent the entire fight week talking about becoming “the most violent man in the UFC.” After a grueling back-and-forth, Eddie secured a TKO victory over Justin in the 3rd round, giving Gaethje his very first professional loss.