Ex-UFC Title Challenger Suffered ‘Vicious Crash’ Before Fighting Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira

Getty Charles Oliveira

Former interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Gaethje said he suffered a “vicious crash” before his title bout with Charles Oliveira in May.

Gaethje tried for the second time to become the undisputed 155-pound king when he took on Oliveira at UFC 274. But unfortunately for “The Highlight,” he was taken out by Oliveira in the first round via technical knockout.

The American has yet to compete since the loss, and when he spoke with the media ahead of UFC 281 this weekend, Gaethje revealed that he had crashed while riding a bike “18 days” before his bout with “Do Bronx.”

“Life’s crazy, man…nobody knows what we go through,” Gaethje said (h/t MMA Fighting). “My dumbass, 18 days before I fought Charles, I was riding my bicycle to the gas station to get some nicotine patches, and I had a vicious crash on my bike. Smoked my head off the road, road rash all down my back, and then go in there and took that damage that I took in that fight. That’s why I’m taking so much time off.

“It’s just crazy what we go through. Each and every one of us has different circumstances. That was such a hurdle in my last [fight]. As soon as it happened I had to go home and act like it didn’t happen, act like my vision didn’t go 100 percent f***** up for two seconds. And that’s what we’ve been doing since we were kids. You put that doubt aside. And as soon as it happened, it was like, ‘OK, what do I do next? How do I continue to improve and continue to be ready for this fight?’”

The Pedal on His Bike Broke Off While He Was Riding It, Gaethje Said

Gaethje further explained the nature of the bicycle accident, saying that a broken pedal led to him getting a “crazy rug burn.”

“I wasn’t doing anything stupid,” The Highlight said. “My pedal snapped off, when I was riding. It was just crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy. Stupid is what it was. I was 12 weeks into a camp. All I know is to compete, you know? I don’t let myself feel anything. I try to take away the emotions so I’m constantly either running from it, or I feel like I can control it. But in that instance I was like, ‘Oh, I f***** up. This is not good.’ But I didn’t feel compromised externally. Not even internally, because at that moment I was ready for war.

“I had a crazy rug burn. I was lubing myself up all day, every day, trying to get it to go away, and it went away really, really well. But it was f****** stupid is what it was, at the end of the day. But I had put so much work in, there was no chance I wasn’t — I’ve never backed out of a fight. I didn’t feel I needed to then, I still don’t think I should have, and I’m glad I didn’t. That was a great fight. It was very emotional because I was at home. I think that’s the mistake I made, I let the moment get to me, and that’s the lesson you learn.”

Gaethje Wants to Fight Either Oliveira or Rafael Fiziev Next

The Highlight hasn’t been booked for his next outing. But during the same scrum, Gaethje gave two names that are on the top of his list: Oliveira and Rafael Fiziev.

Gaethje has said on multiple occasions that he’s preparing himself to make one more run at the lightweight title. And he also told the media on Thursday that he believes earning two consecutive wins will elevate him to the title contender position.

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