WSOF 6: Justin Gaethje Plans To “Show People What I’m Made Of”
Undefeated Lightweight to Battle UFC Vet Dan Lauzon
By Kelsey Mowatt
Since Justin Gaethje was signed by the World Series of Fighting, the 24 year-old has done his best to demonstrate why he’s received the highly touted prospect label. After all, in Gaethje’s first two appearances he’s stopped established vets in Brian Cobb and “JZ” Cavalcante, and is in the promotion’s title picture as a result. It’s been an impressive start to a professional career, which began just over two years ago in August, 2011.
“I took this as a career so I could put money on the table, food on the table for my family, so I definitely had the aspirations to get to a big promotion and start making more money,” Gaethje said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing his quick rise up the MMA ladder. “That’s been my goal from the beginning, but I’m just as hungry as I was my first fight. I don’t see it as I’ve made it by any means.”
“I’m just going to keep fighting and one of these days hopefully I’ll be able to pat myself on the back, like you say, and take it all in,” Gaethje added. “But right now I’ve got to keep working hard and keep staying hungry.”
Like many of the fighters who have had a quick and substantive impact on the sport in recent years, Gaethje also comes from an accomplished wrestling background. And, like other wrestlers who’ve had success transitioning into MMA, the former Division 1 All-American competitor has added developed striking skills to his arsenal.
“My first four fights as an amateur I really had no training at all,” said Gaethje while discussing the evolution of his stand-up game. “I had never hit pads, I had never sparred or anything like that, it was just plain wrestling. Just going out there and I even enjoyed standing up then, which probably wasn’t the smartest thing.”
“So I’m glad I got in touch with Trevor Wittman at Grudge Training Center as he’s really pushed my stand-up skills along,” added Gaethje, who stopped Cobb at WSOF 3 with punishing leg kicks. “Since I’ve turned professional I’ve really come a long ways with my stand-up.”
At WSOF 6 this Saturday in Coral Gables, Florida, Gaethje will look to extend his pro record to 10-0, when he takes on UFC vet Dan Lauzon. Since Lauzon was let go by the UFC in 2010, following losses to Cole Miller and Efrain Escudero, the 25 year-old fighter has won five straight fights.
“I was really excited,” said Gaethje, when asked for his reaction upon finding out he would fight “The Upgrade” next. “Those are the opportunities that I’ve always looked forward to, especially with a big promotion like World Series of Fighting. They have a bunch of big name guys that have established a name for themselves, so I just look foward to those opportunities and show people what I’m made of.”
Lauzon has already competed in over 20 fights, since he turned pro in 2006, and like Gaethje he has a habit of finishing opponents. In his last five bouts Lauzon has recorded stoppages in four of them, and the only one that went to a decision was in his last outing versus John Gunderson. That fight took place at WSOF 3 in June and Lauzon won via UD.
“I watched the Gunderson fight and I know he’s lanky, a good striker, he’s got some power, so I’m going to work on my footwork, keep my head movement, and get in on the inside and throw some combinations.”
The main card for WSOF 6 will be broadcast throughout the U.S. on the NBC Sports Network.