With Khabib Nurmagomedov unable to fight at UFC 249, Justin Gaethje has been picked to step in and fight Tony Ferguson on short notice for the interim lightweight championship on April 18. While not quite the undefeated talent that Khabib is, Gaethje is still a refined fighter who can bring the excitement, and has the kind of knockout power that should startle anyone in the division. Ferguson would be wise to respect the violent skill set his opponent possesses, as these three fights truly demonstrate the extent to which "The Highlight" is one of the baddest men in the UFC.
3. 2017: Michael Johnson, TUF 25 Finale
In the finale of "The Ultimate Fighter 25," Gaethje was put to the test against one of the longtime talents of the 155-pound division in Michael Johnson. The fight should have been over in the first round after Johnson rocked Gaethje, but the Highlight showed he has an iron chin to go along with his showstopping power. The fight was a slugfest, and Gaethje eventually broke through in the middle of the second round with huge uppercut, finishing Johnson off with less than 30 seconds left before the bell. An instant classic.
2. 2019: Edson Barboza, UFC Philadelphia
For all the power that Gaethje possesses, Edson Barboza made a career out of defeating opponents with terrifying techniques that put people to sleep. So, when Gaethje stepped in to face Barboza last year in Philadelphia, everyone expected the Brazilian to dispatch of another hyped-up fighter. What happened next made everyone realize Gaethje was legit, as he stopped his foe with a crushing left hand that left the Brazillian flat on his back just two and a half minutes into the bout.
1. 2019: Donald Cerrone, UFC Vancouver
Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone is legendary in the UFC for his ability to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the Octagon with zero fear or hesitation. His power along with his near-perfect striking technique can make any opponent weary. However, Gaethje showed in their 2019 bout that he fears no man in the lightweight class, and made the brave decision to stand in the middle of the ring and exchange until someone landed the first big strike. That decision turned out to be massive for him and his career, as Gaethje landed a right hand that put Cowboy on his knees and forced the referee to stop the fight in the very first round.