Justin Gaethje created a thunderous statement Saturday night in UFC Philadelphia.

A picture-perfect right-hand would be that the shot which put Barboza down, giving Gaethje back-to-back first-round knock-outs following his similarly prominent success over James Vick last August. And for Gaethje, who moved back into title contention with this win, Saturday night has been more than a little overwhelming.

“after all , we work so very hard. I’ve worked for 12 weeks, day-in and day out, made numerous sacrifices, and the self-doubt only keeps trying to creep in, keeps trying to creep into. And I’m sure happens to anybody with a tricky work, or everybody in life it happens , but you have to keep pushing . And that’so I do.

“Believe in my own preparation, believe in the people I’ve surrounded myself with. This is mad, man. It’s really hard to restrain this right now. ”

Gaethje’so operation against Barboza revealed his operation against Vick for the reason that the former WSOF winner entered UFC Philadelphia with a far more measured approach than his old brawling ways. Gaethje revealed then that the strategy was a conscious decision on his part, and one he’s been focused on refining since he lost his eponymous record with back-to-back KO/TKO reverses against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier.

“Following those 2 declines, I really was able to check in the mirror,” Gaethje stated. “Before that I was undefeated and that I really didn’t even afford the opportunity to produce the changes, because I didn’t even understand what was wrong. I was only having so much accomplishment. Now, however, my capacity to slow down things is so remarkable. I didn’t even understand I can get it done. I didn’t even understand I possessed that skill. But yeah, it’s much more of the up-here (cerebral) experience for me, and I’m adoring it. The last two battles have been so much different than another two. ”

Where Gaethje goes out is anyone’s best guess.

The UFC’s light weight branch is a crowded and confusing place at the moment, especially on top, with the trio of both Tony Ferguson, conor-mcgregor , and UFC winner Khabib Nurmagomedov all respect to the foreseeable future. Poirier and featherweight winner Max Holloway are supposed to clash to an interim lightweight name on April 1-3 in UFC 236, and also the only three additional men now ranked above Gaethje a side from Barboza — Al Iaquinta, Kevin Lee, and Donald Cerrone — all are booked.

Ninth-ranked Paul Felder is the next-closest ranked light weight to Gaethje around the UFC’s 155-pound roster, and he was an anchor to the ESPN+ post-fight series. Felder respectfully threw his own name to the hat if Gaethje was asked about that which was next — and also Gaethje’therefore answer was blunt.

“You don’t even need that to happen for you,” a smiling Gaethje told Felder.

Gaethje added that Nurmagomedov is the most important target he is centered on, and vowed he could be prepared to do whatever it takes to reach the undefeated Dagestani winner.

“After the time comes, it’s kill or be murdered,” Gaethje stated. “That means me or you. I don’t even care who it’s. I don’t even attention. I’m in my way to Khabib and I need to fight with him. I think I’m also the toughest matchup for him personally. ”

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