Justin Gaethje doesn’t imagine that James Vick understands what it’ll really take to step into the Octagon and hand him a 3rd straight loss after they collide in the principle occasion of this weekend’s UFC Struggle Evening occasion in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“I don’t assume he’s mentally ready for what he’s going to need to undergo on Saturday night time and I can’t wait to see the terrified look on his face,” stated Gaethje, who enters the competition following back-to-back stoppage losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, the primary two setbacks of his profession.

The whole construct to this combat has been a back-and-forth between the 2 combatants, with Vick calling Gaethje “The Homer Simpson of the UFC” and the previous World Collection of Preventing light-weight champion questioning his impending opponent’s character when he steps into the cage.

What’s attention-grabbing about that Simpsons reference that Vick retains turning to is that whereas Homer’s “soak up pictures till they tire themselves out” method is atypical and never one you’ll advocate to some other fighter, actual or animated, he makes it work and lands a profitable Pay-Per-View showdown with former heavyweight champion Drederick Tatum because of this.

Just like the patriarch of the Simpson clan, Gaethje has made his all-action, demolition derby method to preventing work for him contained in the cage, rattling off 18 consecutive victories earlier than falling to Alvarez and Poirier in his final two outings.

And whereas the outcomes had been actually not what he needed, the 29-year-old Trevor Wittman pupil is aware of what it took for Alvarez and Poirier to stroll out of the Octagon with their fingers raised on these nights and he’s fairly certain that his dance associate on Saturday night time hasn’t ready himself accordingly.

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“It’s important to mentally put together for what you need to undergo to beat me,” stated Gaethje. “Dustin did it and Eddie did it and also you didn’t hear both of these guys saying any of the issues this man is saying and for good purpose. They knew that they had been going to need to dig deep, that they had been going to have to beat adversity and so they each did an incredible job at doing that.

“Everybody I’ve fought for the final variety of fights have been mentally ready to go in there and combat their a** off, and if what he’s saying is true, it’s going to be probably the most terrifying night time of his life.”

The final 4 months have been a interval of analysis and adjustment for Gaethje, who at all times accepted that the time would come the place he could be on the unsuitable facet of a stoppage loss.

After being felled by Alvarez and having his unbeaten streak snapped, he felt relieved that he not needed to carry the burden of being an undefeated fighter, however not like there was something particularly he wanted to alter about his method within the cage. However after getting stopped by Poirier in his dwelling state of Arizona earlier this 12 months, Gaethje knew he wanted to type a number of issues out earlier than returning to the Octagon.

The important thing factor he’s recognized as he readied to step again in in opposition to Vick on Saturday night time is that he must not get complacent and bear in mind always {that a} single well-placed shot can shift the momentum of a combat in a flash or deliver it to a sudden finish.

“Each time I come again to the nook, my coach goes to be in my face telling me to not be snug, to not turn out to be complacent,” stated Gaethje, explaining how he’s been engaged on integrating concern and a way of urgency again into his preventing fashion. “He’s going to remind me that it solely takes one shot and I can’t let that occur.

“The Eddie combat, I landed 4 enormous uppercuts and I nearly couldn’t imagine he was nonetheless standing after which BOOM – large knee proper up the center. There’s no purpose I ought to have forgotten who I used to be preventing or the extent of competitors I used to be preventing.

“Dustin, my recreation plan was to go in there and break his leg,” he continued. “Should you watch the combat, I used to be effectively on the way in which, however I simply began kicking as a substitute of throwing my fingers and setting it up with punches, taking totally different angles. I simply went on the market and began throwing kicks as a substitute of biting down and preventing the way in which I ought to be preventing always.”

Gaethje’s method has produced 4 post-fight bonuses in three outings and a trio of principal occasion assignments in his first 4 UFC appearances, achievements that aren’t solely a degree of pleasure for the Safford, Arizona native, but additionally contribute to why he’s so postpone by what he views as a way of entitlement from the person he’ll share the cage with this weekend in Nebraska.

(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)“Three out of 4 principal occasions and coming off two losses, they’ve obtained me in the principle occasion, (plus) 4 bonuses in three fights; that’s one thing that speaks for itself. It’s important to earn these issues; that’s not one thing that’s simply given frivolously within the UFC. These issues have to be earned and I earned each single little bit of it.

“The one purpose James Vick is preventing in the principle occasion is due to me and since Al Iaquinta pulled out of this combat,” Gaethje added. “As an athlete, he represents all of us and he doesn’t need to undergo the method. He needs issues given to him and that’s not how this world works.”

Racking up bonuses and placing on thrilling fights has rapidly turn out to be Gaethje’s calling card within the UFC, simply because it was in World Collection of Preventing earlier than that, but it surely’s not one thing the light-weight standout does purposely.

He’s not strolling into the cage considering, “I need to make this thrilling” or “I need to get Struggle of the Evening” – he’s simply doing what comes naturally to him and that’s exactly what he plans to do once more on Saturday night time, all whereas placing Vick by way of probably the most torturous night time of his skilled life.

“That’s simply who I’m and the way I combat,” stated Gaethje. “I’m not doing it to be generally known as ‘The Entertaining Fighter’ essentially – I’m who I’m and I’m not going to go in there and combat myself. I’m going to let myself be free underneath the circumstances and if he can take it just like the final guys and pull by way of, props to him, however James Vick can not and won’t.

“He actually does go in there and tries to keep away from battle, which I don’t respect,” he added. “When he obtained knocked out, he laid on the bottom for an prolonged time period; I don’t respect that. You’re both a fighter otherwise you’re not and people issues are proving grounds. You don’t lay on the bottom for that lengthy whenever you get knocked out, particularly whenever you’re not all the way in which asleep.

“I hope he lasts three rounds as a result of which means I get to kick him at the very least 20 instances, however I’m at all times in there to complete the combat as quickly as doable.”

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