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Midnight Mania! Justin Gaethje emphasizes importance of staying off the fence, ‘if I don’t, then I’m screwed’

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Handing an undefeated champion his first loss is rarely an easy task. Since early in his UFC career, opponents have known how Khabib Nurmagomedov intends to defeat them, yet time and time again, they wind up stuck in the same positions and suffering the same outcomes.

Justin Gaethje is the latest to approach this monumental challenge with confidence, and he spoke about the match up at the UFC 254 press conference. “I expect him to believe that’s going to happen,” Gaethje told reporters (transcription via MMAFighting). “I’ve been telling myself that’s going to happen and it drives me every single day. I’m a performer. I always show up under the lights and I’ve been doing this as long as he has. This is ingrained in us. On Saturday night I will leave everything, give everything and be proud of my performance.”

There’s a lot to consider when grappling with Nurmagomedov, and thankfully, Gaethje has his own extensive wrestling background to rely on. However, the cage itself changes that scholastic experience, and Gaethje emphasized the importance of avoiding those positions.

“I didn’t watch any tape on Khabib,” Gaethje explained. “I’ve watched his fights throughout his career because I’m a huge fan of everything. I’ve always focused on being my best self. He hasn’t fought someone that’s grappled as long as he has, I have. Everyone says they’re ready and I will not allow him to put me on the fence. If I do, then I’m screwed.

“My plan is if we’re gonna grapple, let’s grapple in the middle at all times. I’ve said it 1,000 times; I cause damage. I have dense bones and I’m gonna kick his legs. That’s where we’re gonna start and we’ll go from there.”

Gaethje has a good strategy, confidence, and great skills. Will it be enough?


Conor McGregor doubles down on his bizarre argument about the first fight with Khabib. I’m down with grounded knees, but you really want to fight a Khabib who’s allowed to drop knees too?!? It goes both ways!

This little kid has some legit chain-wrestling.

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Are we going to see this happen during Khabib v Justin

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Dana White names Tyron Woodley the most difficult fighter to work with (should probably stop calling pro athletes nearly 40 years old “kid”).

On one hand, Frankie Edgar vs. Cory Sandhagen makes sense. On the other, I don’t want Frankie to die.

This cool video uses animation to break down some of the flaws in Khabib’s footwork:

I’m not going to stop including their tweets in my column — I need ALL THE CONTENT! — but something to keep in my when a tweet seems out of touch with an athlete’s personality.

Max Griffin achieves his dreams:

Slips, rips, and KO clips

This clip tricked me after the opening couple seconds.

Spin to win!

Walked straight into a mean check hook:

Random Land


Midnight Music: Of the many gyms I’ve worked out at in my life, my climbing gym plays the best (and most varied) music by a wide margin.

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

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