World Series of Fighting (WSOF) lightweight champion Justin Gaethje has every reason to be confident in his skill set.
The 25-year-old fighter is 12-0 with 11 finishes, including his latest second-round knockout of the previously undefeated Nick Newell.
After his fight with Newell at WSOF, Gaethje talked with Ashley Luther of MMA Mayhem about his upcoming challengers within the promotion, and he made a bold statement about his place in the 155-pound ranks.
"I owe anybody the shot, and if Melvin (Guillard) wants it, you know, we've trained together before," Gaethje said. "He's the most explosive '55-pounder in the world, I'm the best 155-pounder in the world. What more could you ask for?"
Guillard also won at WSOF 11, defeating veteran lightweight Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante via second-round TKO. While Guillard missed weight for this fight, he's undoubtedly one of the top contenders under the WSOF banner, and his power and athleticism make him a threat to any fighter, any time.
But Gaethje is ready to take on all comers. A former Division I All-American wrestler at Northern Colorado University, Gaethje's transition to the world of MMA was smooth and efficient, and he's quickly developed an all-around skill set that has earned him the WSOF lightweight title and a reputation as one of the most feared strikers in the game.
He's knocked out 10 opponents in his 12-fight professional career, with half of them occurring in the first round.
After blasting Newell with a crushing right hand at WSOF 11 on NBC, Gaethje's confidence is at an all-time high, and he didn't even flinch when he called himself the best 155-pound fighter on the planet.
I honestly feel like Gaethje can contend in the UFC right now. I think he would jump into the top 15 really quick. His striking is deadly.— Adam Martin (@MMAdamMartin) July 5, 2014
Still, the cloud of the UFC looms overhead, and that promotion boasts a stable of lightweight killers who would beg to differ with Gaethje's words. For now, there are challenges for Gaethje in WSOF, but if he cleans out his division, we might seem him step into the Octagon to live up to his words and beat the world's best.
What do you make of Gaethje's proclamation? How do you think he would fare against the UFC's lightweight class?