Justin Gaethje only has a few more years left in him.
Throughout his epic 28-fight career, Gaethje (24-4) has been constant entertainment, engaging in countless wars in the Lightweight division. He’s been dubbed “The Highlight” for a reason and with all the damage endured since 2011, Gaethje doesn’t see his mixed martial arts (MMA) journey lasting much longer.
“It’s just the fact of the matter that I would say, by 37, I would like to not be doing this anymore,” Gaethje told MMA Fighting. “I’m 34 now. Two or three years is a long time, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that long. I’ve been doing this for 12 or  years, so ultimately it’s the back end of my career in this sport. That’s just the train of thought that I had.
“We’re so emotional after these fights that I wouldn’t believe anything that we say for a week,” he continued. “It was just my thought process after. I’m not going to be here forever. I’m glad that you guys are here to enjoy this with me. I was really talking to the fans in that moment.”
Thankfully, no matter who Gaethje fights it’s guaranteed to be a must-see occasion simply because of his involvement. For his next time out, Gaethje competes in his second career rematch, taking on a fellow former interim champion, Dustin Poirier, at UFC 291 on July 29, 2023. The winner will take home the resurrected Baddest Motherf—ker (BMF) title previously held by Welterweight veteran, Jorge Masvidal.
“I’ve been a huge fan of this sport. I’ve followed so many of the athletes and I’ve seen examples of people fighting too long, people quitting too early, people stopping at just the right moment,” Gaethje explained. “I’d like to fall in that ‘just the right moment’ situation.
“I would say as soon as I believe I can’t be the best in the world with the skills that I possess, I don’t see any reason to go in there and risk what we’re risking each and every fight,” he concluded.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 291 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+/ABC at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 291: “Poirier vs. Gaethje 2”” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.