Upon making his major promotion debut at the World Series of Fighting 2 event in March, Colorado lightweight up-and-comer Justin Gaethje may have been the underdog to Dream and Strikeforce veteran Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante, but he didn’t perform like it.
Over the course of two and a half minutes, Gaethje did exactly what he set out to do and finished Cavalcante, putting himself on the map in the process.
“I was excited for the opportunity to be on national television and fight a guy who was well-known and show the people that I really do belong with everybody else and that I can hold my own and that I’ve been working on my skills,” said Gaethje.
“That was the game plan going in was to pressure him and make him feel uncomfortable, and that’s what I did.”
While Gaethje made Cavalcante uncomfortable in their fight, he told MMAWeekly.com that he was very at ease at the event thanks to the way the WSOF treated him.
“It’s an awesome company,” said Gaethje. “It’s obviously the biggest platform I’ve been on. They’re trying to do a big thing and they’re taking care of the fighters and that’s the most important part.”
Gaethje’s return to the WSOF on Friday looks to be a match-up of fighters with equal skillsets as he is slated to take on former UFC fighter Brian “Bandit” Cobb. According to Gaethje, though, the fight might not play out like most people think.
“I know he’s a really good wrestler and has been wrestling a long time like myself and he’s going to try to take me down, so I want to keep it standing and maybe get a couple takedowns myself,” said Gaethje of Cobb. “I know he’s a grinder, so I want to grind him out and beat him at his own game and grind out a win.
“I’m going to stand there, try to knock him out, and if he shoots, try to catch him with a knee. It’s definitely not going to be a wrestling match because I’m going to try to get the knockout.”
As the WSOF continues to expand its lightweight division, Gaethje feels he can make his way to the top of the weight class, as long as he takes his time and methodically works his way up the rankings in the coming years.
“I know they’ve got a lot of big names, so I’m looking forward to fighting as many of them as possible,” said Gaethje.
“The WSOF 155-pound division is full of a lot of young stars or guys who come from big promotions, but I’m not in a rush to fight for a title. I want it to mean something, so I want take it one step at a time, one fight at a time, and leave it up to the promotion who I fight next.”