Justin Gaethje’s improvements on display at UFC 291

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Gaethje impresses with knockout of Dustin Poirier at UFC 291.

Justin Gaethje took a moment of reflection after the first time he lost to Dustin Poirier via technical knockout at UFC on Fox on April 14, 2018 and viewed it as a moment to learn and refine his own skills.

That improvements came in handy at UFC 291 in Salt Lake City when he knocked out Poirier with a head kick one minute into the second round of the BMF title fight. 

“If you watch that fight and compared to that fight it’s night and day,” Gaethje said. “I had to understand, it was a tough lesson to learn. That man taught me that lesson and I thank God for him.

“Unlike any other sport on the earth, you rarely get a redemption. We take a loss, and we just have to go home and sit there, and it just eats us away. So to come back and prove myself, I believed in myself the whole time. It’s a crazy sport. It’s unforgiving.”

The two traded blows in an exciting, back-and-forth matchup in the first round with Poirier doing more damage, while Gaethje was leading in volume.

Gatheje ensured it wouldn’t be a repeat of the last fight when he wrapped his head kick around Poirier’s guard and knocked out the latter.

As for what’s next, Gaethje made it clear that being called the BMF of the lightweight division wasn’t enough.

“I want to fight for the world championship. I want to prove I’m the best in the world,” he said. “Max effort is what you’re going to get out of me. Luck and chance are a factor and I’m willing to roll the dice any [expletive] day.”

Other Results from UFC 291

  • LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT: Alex Pereira def. Jan Blachowicz via split deision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • HEAVYWEIGHT: Derrick Lewis def. Marco Rgerio de Lima via TKO (punches).
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: Bobby Green def. Tony Ferguson via technical submission (arm-triangle choke)
  • WELTERWEIGHT: Kevin Holland def. Michael Chiesa via submission (brabo choke).
  • WELTERWEIGHT: Gabriel Bonfim def. Trevin Giles via submission (guillotine choke).
  • CATCHWEIGHT (128.5 pounds): C.J. Vergara def. Vinicius Salvador via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
  • MIDDLEWEIGHT: Roman Kpylov def. Claudio Ribeiro via knockout (head kick).
  • WELTERWEIGHT: Jake Matthew def. Darrius Flowers via submission (rear-naked choke).
  • WELTERWEIGHT: Uros Medic def. Matthew Semelsberger via TKO (spinning backfist and punches).
  • WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT: Miranda Maverick def. Priscila Cachoeira by submission (armbar).