UFC 291: 3 things we learned

UFC 291 in Salt Lake City was full of memorable moments.

Jul 29, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) reacts to defeating Dustin
Jul 29, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) reacts to defeating Dustin / Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
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3. The Baddest Motherf*cker title has found its true meaning

Justin Gaethje is the baddest motherf*cker of all.

The only shame about the UFC 291 main event for the BMF title was that we did not get over ten minutes of the action. A head-kick knockout in the second round helped Gaethje avenge his 2018 loss to Dustin Poirier. The score is even at one apiece, and Gaethje won the title that fits him like a glove.

When Nate Diaz and Jorge Masivdal first fought for the title in 2019, it was a way to spice up a clash between the two who embodied the letters on the belt. Brash yet cold, explicitly unapologetic, will punch you and laugh at your face.

The fight ended in an unfortunate doctor's stoppage after the third round. Masvidal won, but the ending was abrupt and uncharacteristic. Additionally, neither fighter had real title implications, so the belt felt like a consolation prize.

That was not the case in UFC 291.

Gaethje and Poirier are overachievers who continuously give bonus-worthy performances. Their first meeting was one for the ages, and they have been on a collision course since. They are second and third in the lightweight rankings with a real hunger for undisputed gold.

Round one was as action-packed as advertised. In round two, The Highlight finally landed the kick that Poirier had previously parried away. Gaethje is in prime position to fight the winner of Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev's championship rematch in October. The knockout, the backflip celebration, everything about it defined what it means to be the baddest motherf*cker.

It is not an undisputed belt. Not even close to an interim title. But it is one that only an elite breed of fighters can personify. And right now, Gaethje is the textbook definition of everything the BMF title represents.

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