Fans love Justin Gaethje because he’s the kind of fighter that’s willing to go out on his shield to make a fight more entertaining. But since his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC Glendale - his second loss in a row during a fight he was arguably winning - some of his followers are hoping he may change his style just a little to improve his chances of victory.
The most obvious tool gathering rust in his tool box is his wrestling, which we haven’t seen a lick of since he arrived in the UFC. MMA Hour host Ariel Helwani recently asked why we didn’t see any wrestling in the Poirier fight and Gaethje admitted maybe that would have been a good idea.
“I’ve been wrestling my whole life, I should’ve and could’ve took him down a couple of times,” he said. “Especially when I had him rocked just to steal a round or two. For some reason, my mind will not let me do it. I think I sold myself so hard on the fact that this is not wrestling. I don’t know, I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.”
Many have pointed to the predictability of Gaethje’s rock’em sock’em style, with fellow UFC fighter Dan Hooker going so far as to call Justin ‘the stupidest guy in the division.’ So will Gaethje start mixing things up a bit more just to avoid being the easiest fighter to prepare for?
“It definitely would be a good idea,” he said. “I have to get people guessing if I’m going to take them down or not. They know what I’m coming with right now. Everyone knows I’m going to come in there and I’m going to stop your takedowns. So, yeah, it would benefit me to keep them guessing. I need to work it into my game plan.”
Nothing wrong with a little wrestling to compliment Justin’s swang and bang ethos. Knowing him, I doubt he’d be any less exciting on scrambles and top control than he is throwing all that spinning s**t in the center of the cage.