UFC: Justin Gaethje eyeing 37 as a good time to hang up the gloves

May 7, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Justin Gaethje during UFC 274 at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of July at UFC 291, the BMF title will be making it’s return. With Jorge Masvidal being retired, the promotion decided to bring back the title and they have a sensational lightweight matchup where the winner will walk away with the title.

Former interim lightweight champions Justin Gaethje (24-4) and Dustin Poirier (29-7) will be battling it out for the BMF belt. Justin Gaethje has bigger goals than just the BMF title as he is wanting to become the undisputed UFC lightweight champion.

Thus far, Gaethje has had two cracks at the belt and came up short both times against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira. At 34-years-old, Justin Gaethje is already eyeing the end of his career. He’s made it known for a while now that he doesn’t plan on being a guy who fights late into his career.

In an exclusive interview with Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, Gaethje said that 37 is the cutoff point for him. The former interim UFC champion has a plan and the plan for his future involves being done with fighting by the time he reaches that age.

Gaethje’s UFC Plan

Justin Gaethje is playing things out one fight at a time right now. Back in March, Gaethje returned against Rafael Fiziev and won a majority decision. It was the first time Gaethje had fought since he lost to Charles Oliveira for the UFC lightweight championship.

Gaethje has made it clear that the lightweight title is what drives him. He wants to become champion and has also said that he believes that this is his last shot at getting to the top of the mountain. If he’s able to win the BMF title at UFC 291, I think it’s very reasonable to think that he could be fighting for the title in 2024.

However, if he falls short, it’s tough to see where he’ll go from here. There’s a possibility that Gaethje could decide to hang it up before 37 if there’s no clear path to the belt. While his style suggests he’s a guy who would fight forever, Gaethje knows there’s a time limit on his career and that limit is hit when there’s no path to UFC gold.