Former WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje will make his UFC debut against Michael Johnson in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale in Las Vegas on Friday, July 7th – one day before UFC 213.
Gaethje holds a formidable 17-0 career record and is renowned for being a highly entertaining fighter who is willing to put everything on the line in pursuit of a finish, with 14 of his victories having come via strikes.
Fighting for WSOF since their second show, Gaethje has defeated the likes of Melvin Guillard, Dan Lauzon, Luis Palomino and Gesias JZ Cavalcante during his time there and successfully defended his lightweight title on five occasions.
Now he takes a step up in competition against the No.6 ranked UFC Lightweight Johnson, though ‘The Menace’ has been struggling to find form of late in the Octagon.
Johnson was dominated by Khabib Nurmagomedov last time out and also has further losses to Nate Diaz and Beniel Dariush on his recent record, though in among that he also registered a KO win over Dustin Poirier last year.
The two fighters had plenty to say to each other at yesterday’s ‘Summer Kickoff’ press conference, and none of it was complementary.
“I’m not trying to beat him up, I’m not trying to win by decision or a point – I’m literally going to try to take this man’s life,” Johnson warned. “And if you’re not ready to die, don’t show up.”
“I’m a violent mother(expletive),” Gaethje said in response. “I’m the most violent lightweight on this planet, and I will prove that. You will find out. It’s going to be a march, a march to deep water, baby, and you’re not going to last. You can’t swim in this water.”
Johnson was eager to get the last word on the matter though.
“Deep water? I don’t need to swim – I do my fighting on land, player. Listen, Justin, you had wars in (WSOF). But when you come over to the UFC, you won’t have a war with me man. We’re going to bang, don’t get it wrong, but you’re out of your league on this one, buddy.”