Fighters are often regarded as gladiators. The ones who put away their opponents with their fists inside a cage with thousands of fans cheering them on. But the moments of glory often outshine the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Ahead of his fight at UFC 274, Justin Gaethje speaks on the sacrifices he has made throughout his career.
During the build-up to this weekend’s PPV, The Highlight opened up on his personal life. In the interview, Justin discussed what are the aspects of his life he sacrificed in order to master the craft of fighting.
“Being a martial artist is a lifelong sacrifice. I’ve sacrificed and given the countless opportunities in things in life that I wanted. That I knew would distract me from what I’m doing and I think the definition of a Martial artist is making sacrifices and understanding that there’s no easy way.”
Justin’s road to the top of the UFC was certainly not an easy one. He had to go through fighters like Dustin Poirier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson and Michael Chandler. Although he lost to some of them, Gaethje has continued to improve. But the dedication to fighting came at a cost of personal joy. Speaking on that, the 33-year-old said,
“I don’t go out, I don’t drink, I’m not married, I don’t have kids. Those are the things I’ve sacrificed on my journey because of the place I put myself into.”
Justin Gaethje speaks on respecting his opponents
Martial arts were built on the foundation of respect. But that concept seems to have vanished over the years. Fans have witnessed a bitter rivalry between the likes of Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov; or more recently between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. However, Gaethje does not hold any malicious feelings toward his contemporaries.
In the same interview, he also spoke about having respect for his opponents. But Justin admitted that he takes all the trash talk very personally. Because it provides him with the necessary fuel to motivate himself.
“You know respect can have a lot of different meanings at different points in the lead-up to a fight, in the fight (and) after the fight. You have to respect your opponents before His skills, his ability to beat you. But you can’t over-respect that.”
“I respect every athlete that’s ever stepped in there because of that. But it depends on how much sh*t they talked.”
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Charles Oliveira is not really known for his magnetic trash-talking abilities on the mic. Hence, the question is, how will Gaethje react this weekend when they are finally locked inside the Octagon? The answer will be clear this Saturday as UFC 274 goes down on May 7th in Phoenix. Justin will fight Do Bronx in the main event for the UFC Lightweight Championship.