When looking back over 2013, one of MMA’s breakout prospects was current World Series of Fighting lightweight Justin Gaethje.
“It was a good year last year,” said Gaethje. “I haven’t had much time to sit back and look at it because it’s been really hectic, but that’s the way I like it. I’m really happy with the WSOF and I’m excited for this upcoming opportunity at a title.”
Getting a chance to get on the national stage had been goal for Gaethje entering 2013. And with the WSOF, he’s been able to accomplish that and be recognized as one of the top lightweight up-and-comers in MMA.
“It was something I’d been looking forward to,” he said. “One way to get your name out there and get some exposure is to get on TV. The more people see me fight, the more opportunities I get.
“That’s something that I’ve really enjoyed, getting an opportunity to show people what I’m really made of.”
When it comes to his growth as a fighter last year, Gaethje (10-0) feels he made the necessary steps to ensure he could continue his undefeated streak against his toughest competition to date.
“I have some of the best trainers and workout partners I could have and I’m really happy with where I’m at,” he said. “I’ve progressed a lot this year and I can see it from each of my fights and I will continue to work hard and staying hungry as a fighter.”
Gaethje’s success with the WSOF has been rewarded with a new five-fight contract, the first match of which will come on Saturday against Rich Patishnock (6-1) for the promotion’s inaugural 155-pound title.
“It’s reassuring to know I have job security,” said Gaethje. “I can really focus on training and staying healthy, which is all I really need to focus on as a fighter. It’s really good to know that I have five fights I have to train for and go out there and win.”
As for Saturday night’s fight, Gaethje has only gone the distance one time in his professional career and doesn’t plan on this one being the next to go bell-to-bell.
“I’m going to use my strength to keep the fight where I want it to be. I’m excited for a fast-paced fight, and I really don’t see it going five rounds.”