Justin Gaethje wrestles with Kamaru Usman as he prepares for lightweight title fight with Charles Oliveira at UFC 274

Justin Gaethje has been training with the very best ahead of his lightweight title fight with Charles Oliveira in Phoenix at UFC 274 on May 7.

‘The Highlight’ shares trainer Trevor Wittman with UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who has been helping him prepare in his bid to win the lightweight title at the second time of asking.

Gaethje practices with Usman ahead of his showdown at UFC 274

Gaethje offered next to nothing when he first fought for UFC gold against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 in October 2020 and was quickly submitted once the fight hit the mat in round two in Abu Dhabi.

Ahead of his fight with Oliveira, Gaethje has been working on his wrestling with the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC and even seemed to be getting the better of Usman during a recent training session.

Despite that, Gaethje understands that his best chance of beating the champ at UFC 274 is to keep this fight on the feet and try to score a knockout.

“At the end of the day, if my striking isn’t better than his, I’m f******, per se. That’s where I’m great,” Gaethje said.

“I’m great at creating pressure, creating damage, and stopping takedowns. So ultimately, he is going to be trying to get it to the ground because I’m gonna find so much success in the striking department.

“He is incredibly dangerous in the striking department. his knees, his elbows, his ability to create pressure, control distance; second to none. But I better be better, or I’m gonna be in a world of trouble.

Gaethje was on a great run before running into Khabib

2019 Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Gaethje was on a great run before running into Khabib

The champion believes his latest challenger is trying to play mind games ahead of their fight. Oliveira has been listening to his opponent talk ahead of their title bout and in his opinion a lot of what Gaethje’s had to say is rubbish.

“Justin Gaethje is coming up with a lot of bull****,” said Oliveira during a recent interview with Brazilian media outlet Olhar da Luta (transcription via MMA Clips Brazil). “I think that’s what he’s trying to do, to win the mind game.

“But that makes no difference to me. I learned that we have two ears to listen but we also have to let it out… If he thinks he can beat me in a standing fight, he can try to knock me out. If he thinks he’s a better wrestler than me, he can take me down too.”

Oliveira succeeded Khabib as the UFC lightweight champion in May 2021


Oliveira succeeded Khabib as the UFC lightweight champion in May 2021

A standing rear-naked choke got the job done for Oliveira


A standing rear-naked choke got the job done for Oliveira

The 32-year-old became UFC champion by beating Michael Chandler for the title vacated by Nurmagomedov, who walked away from MMA after choking out Gaethje.

Since then, the Brazilian submission specialist has scored an upset win over Dustin Poirier, submitting him in the third round of their December 2021 fight at UFC 269.

Gaethje secured himself another shot at the title at UFC 268 when he went to war with Chandler over three rounds.

The former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) champion ultimately picked up the win by unanimous decision in what was the consensus Fight of the Year for 2021.

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