Justin Gaethje admits he expects to retire 'in the next three years'

Justin Gaethje admits he expects to retire ‘in the next three years’, with 34-year-old UFC fan favourite planning to call time on career when he can no longer beat the best

  • Justin Gaethje is renowned for his thrilling and punishing style in the octagon
  • American has been in plenty of gruelling battles and is conscious of his health
  • He says he expect to retire from MMA within the next three years  

Justin Gaethje expects to retire from MMA in the next three years and is conscious of taking punishment for too long.

‘The Highlight’, who has been described as the most violent man in the UFC, and earns post-fight bonuses after almost every outing.

But the incredible battles will begin to take their toll and Gaethje is fully aware that continuing deep into his thirties will come with long-term risks. 

He told MMA Fighting: ‘It’s just the fact of the matter that I would say, by 37, I would like to not be doing this anymore.

‘I’m 34 now. Two or three years is a long time, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not that long. 

Justin Gaethje (left) is aware of the shelf life of a fighter and expected to retire in three years 

The American has been in plenty of incredible battles, including his Fight of the Year against Michael Chandler back in 2021 

‘I’ve been doing this for 12 or [13] years, so ultimately it’s the back end of my career in this sport. That’s just the train of thought that I had.

‘We’re so emotional after these fights that I wouldn’t believe anything that we say for a week. It was just my thought process after. I’m not going to be here forever. 

‘I’m glad that you guys are here to enjoy this with me. I was really talking to the fans in that moment.’

‘I’ve been a huge fan of this sport. I’ve followed so many of the athletes and I’ve seen examples of people fighting too long, people quitting too early, people stopping at just the right moment,’ Gaethje explained. ‘I’d like to fall in that ‘just the right moment’ situation.’

And Gaethje, who delivered a sensational display to overcome Rafael Fiziev in London back in March, thinks he will keep plugging away until he is unable to beat the best. 

Poirier (left) and Gaethje (right) will collide for a second time at UFC 291

He went on: ‘I would say as soon as I believe I can’t be the best in the world with the skills that I possess, I don’t see any reason to go in there and risk what we’re risking each and every fight.

‘I’m human. The older you get, the wiser you get. The wiser you get, the more you understand that nothing is for sure, tomorrow’s not promised. So yeah, you start to think about these things more, but ultimately I think that’s not a concern of mine.

‘It doesn’t play a factor when I go in there. I’d like to be healthy, but I know the risk involved and I have to be content with the situation that I’ve put myself in. 

‘Once I’m able to be content there, I’m able to live a little bit more free, I guess.’

Next up, Gaethje takes on Dustin Poirier at UFC 291 in a highly-anticipated rematch of their brilliant 2018 contest, that he lost by fourth-round TKO.

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