Justin Gaethje will make his return to the UFC Octagon on Saturday against Michael Chandler. It will be Gaethje’s first fight in over a year. Gaethje will be cornered by Trevor Whitman and will be the first of three of Whitman’s top level fighters fighting that evening. It will be good to see the Former interim Lightweight Champion fight against top level contenders like Chandler, and Gaethje hopes to out wrestle Chandler and put his last fight, a loss to UFC Lightweight Great Khabib Nurmagomedov behind him.
Gaethje was born in Safford Arizona on November 14, 1988 to Carolina and John Ray Gaethje. Gaethje is of German and Mexican descent. Gaethje is one of four children and happens to have a twin brother. Fighting is in Gaethje’s blood; his Grandfather on his father’s side boxed while enlisted in The U.S. Army.
Gaethje started wrestling at the age of four he’d wrestle all through High School and College. In High School Gaethje excelled at wrestling becoming a four-time finalist and two-time state champion. He’d go on to wrestle in college at University of Northern Colorado. He’d go on to do very well in his collegiate career which led him to get inducted into the University of Northern Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame.
Gaethje would start MMA while in college he said of his first experiences with MMA in an interview with SB Nation’s Bloody elbow “I started wrestling at 4 years old. It was never a dream of mine but I knew I always wanted to compete in something. When I was wrestling in college I took 7 amateur fights without ever being in a street fight, without sparring, without even training MMA. I won those and then decided to find a gym and turn pro”
Gaethje Would turn pro on August 20, 2011 when he would fight Kevin Croomat at ROF 41: Bragging Rights. Gaethje would win by KO in the first round. After a few more fights with that promotion he then moved on to the Rage in the Cage promotion. He’d win his three fights with the promotion winning once by submission, once by KO, and once by TKO.
Gaethje would then move on to the World Series of Fighting promotion. He’d win his first three fights which led him to the inaugural World series of Fighting Lightweight Championship. He’d win the title against Richard Patishnock by TKO (punches and elbows.) He’d defend that title five times which would lead Gaethje to be one of the biggest free agent signings to the UFC ever.
Gaethje Would make his UFC debut against Michael Johnson on July 7, 2017. He’d win by TKO (punches and knees.) This would lead Gaethje to fight against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 218. Alvarez would win by KO (Knee.) This would lead Gaethje to the biggest challenge of his career thus far and that was future interim Lightweight Champion Dustin Poirier. He’d lose by TKO but Gaethje was down but not out he’d go on to win his next four fights including an Interim Title fight against Tony Ferguson. He’d go on to try to unify that title against undisputed Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He unfortunately wast able to beat the Lightweight G.O.A.T.
Gaethje will make his return to the UFC octagon on November sixth. He will be facing Michael Chandler, and hopefully with a win will cement a title shot with the winner of Oliviera vs Poirier at UFC 269.
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