How ya feel, How ya feel, How ya feel (Drake voice). This is a question I keep asking myself when I think about the fight between Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson. Don’t get me wrong it was a great fight to watch. It made me want to run through a wall, or at least body slam my wife’s full sized pillow. I honestly think I’ve already watched it four times. It is just so damn entertaining. With all of that said, is it really an all time great fight? The UFC is the highest caliber of fighters that are trained in a mix (hence Mixed Martial Arts) of fighting techniques. There wasn’t much mix in this fight. In all honesty, it was a glorified Toughman competition.
Fights like Johnson vs. Gaethje create great buzz for the UFC. Gaethje has turned himself into a can’t miss fighter after just one UFC fight. The UFC and Dana White loved it so much that they gave Gaethje every bonus they possibly could. On the other hand though, it also diminishes the UFC product as a legitimate sport and gives the state of New York all the ammunition they need to try and reinstate its ban of MMA. For someone who is a bit more than a casual MMA fan, but a bit less than a hardcore MMA fan I’m not sure this fight is what everyone is making it out to be.
I think for entertainment purposes every UFC card should have a fight like this. I would never tell Justin Gaethje or Michael Johnson to do anything different. There are so many UFC legends whose legacies are built from fights like this one (Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, etc.). It is just my humble opinion that in order for MMA to continue to legitimize itself as a professional sport, fighters should showcase their entire skillset and not just engage in a what was essentially a street fight.
I still want to thank Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson for the performance they gave, but I think it’s also important to recognize the greatness of Demetrious Johnson, Cain Velasquez, Jon Jones, and other great fighters that put on exciting performances, while also showcasing how well rounded their skill sets are.