Justin Gaethje has quickly made a name for himself in the UFC with five thrilling fights, including three that ended in victory. Gaethje scored a first round finish - his second straight - vs. Edson Barboza Saturday night at UFC on ESPN 2 from Philadelphia.
For the former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion, the win should position him for a contender bout or even shot at current UFC titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov next.
"It doesn't matter to me," he said after the bout (thanks to MMAjunkie for the quotes). "They're going to pay me a lot of money; that's what I'm here for. I want to be world champion. I want to fight Khabib. I think I'm one of the biggest threats to his title and that's my goal."
Gaethje won his first 17 pro bouts before signing with the UFC. He earned a win in his debut, but was bested by Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez in his next two fights before rebounding with victories over James Vick and Barboza. All five of his fights have resulted in bonuses, including four "Fight of the Night" showings.
Mix in his ability to make headlines with a Div. I wrestling background from his days at the University of Northern Colorado, and Gaethje feels now is the time for "The Highlight" to meet the unbeaten Nurmagomedov.
"My ability to stop takedowns (would make me a bad matchup)," Gaethje said. "I am a Div. I wrestler. I was a Div. I All-American, I placed seventh in 2010 and my ability to scramble and avoid takedowns is something he's never faced. And the power. He's faced the power, but never with the ability to stop takedowns and scramble. The combination of the two."