It hasn’t been the best start to 2019 for Justin Gaethje.
The former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion was expected to fight Al Iaquinta last year, but ‘Raging Al’ pulled out of the bout in order to renegotiate his UFC contract.
The negotiation went well, as Al went on to fight — and beat — surging contender Kevin Lee at UFC on FOX 31. With that win, Iaquinta surged past Gaethje in the official UFC lightweight rankings, and ‘The Highlight’ is ‘pissed’ about it. Gaethje did earn a highlight reel KO over James Vick, but it wasn’t enough to catapult the 30-year-old into the top-five.
Gaethje expressed his frustration to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, claiming that he feels under-compensated in the UFC.
“I’m f—ing pissed, man,” Gaethje said. “I’m pissed about a lot of things. I’ve been involved in Fight of the Year the last two years, and that’s all f—ing cool and it sounds good to fans, but I don’t get a damn thing for that.
”It’s bulls—. NFL players get bonuses for sacks, completions, rushing yards, whatever. I go out and put it on the line like I do, and I pretty much get s— on.”
With that said, Gaethje isn’t one to whine, and the Colorado-based fighter is looking to take out his frustration on striking dynamo Edson Barboza in his next fight.
“Barboza is up there,” he said. “He’s a scary fight, but I like being scared. And that’s a fight that me, as a fan, would want to see. I know how much fans would love something like that. So I’ll go out there and try to finish that dude with leg kicks.
”I’m trying to create a legacy, and you don’t create a legacy by bitching. I’ll fight the next in line. Whoever they send me a contract for, I’ll fight him.”
In fact, Gaethje is looking to ‘f-ck up’ his Brazilian foe in the hopes of securing a bout against Iaquinta.
“If I have to go out and f— up Barboza, I’ll do it,” Gaethje said. “And one day, I’m either going to make Al quit or he’s going to have to fight me. That m—–f—– has to fight me at some point.”
Gaethje is one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC and is currently ranked at #7 in the official lightweight rankings.