Justin Gaethje put on a momentous performance vs. Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on Saturday night, capped by UFC president Dana White strapping on the interim lightweight title belt. However, by the time Joe Rogan made it over to Gaethje, the fighter had tossed the belt aside.
Gaethje, who was won nine performance bonuses in the last seven fights, explained why at the post-fight conference.
"That’s the competitor in me and that’s the mindset I have to have to face the challenge that is Khabib,” explained Gatheje, as transcribed by Danny Segura and John Morgan for MMA Junkie. “I can’t think of myself as the champion because for one I’m not and for two Khabib is still there.
“Again, I can’t become complacent. People think they’re unbeatable, that’s what will kill you in this sport. I’m human, if you shake my brain I will go to sleep and he almost did at the end of the second, but the good thing is that I’m fighting humans, so I just perform.”
“I’m a competitor I’ve been competing since I was four years old. I’m a showoff, I know how many people were watching and it makes me happy knowing how good I made people feel, that feels great. It’s pure exhilaration, just screaming. Not just in this country, but all over the world. I get messages from all over the world saying how they’re my fans. Humans recognize effort and I give max effort every single time.”