UFC Exclusive: Justin Gaethje Talks New UFC Gloves, Trevor Wittman Gloves, Eye Pokes

Fans were disappointed that Wittman's gloves didn't make the cut.
Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

One huge change the UFC has seen recently is an update to a major piece of fight kit.

The UFC fighter glove has been the root of many problems for years, from seams causing lacerations to the glove design preventing fighters from making a closed fist.

Ignoring all the superior glove designs from other promotions (some defunct. such as PRIDE FC), some modern pioneers in MMA have been innovating on their own. Trevor Wittman, famed coach of Justin Gaethje and founder of ONX Sports, designed a glove specifically to deal with the issues plaguing professional MMA fighters.

Joe Rogan demonstrating Trevor Wittman's ONX MMA Glove
Joe Rogan demonstrating Trevor Wittman's ONX MMA Glove / JRE

Fans were hoping to see Wittman's glove as part of the recent 'UFC Equipment Update', but were sorely disappointed. MMAKnockout's Mat Riddle spoke with Elevation Fight Team's Justin Gaethje on April 19 to discuss their reaction to the news.

Q: There was a recent equipment update regarding the gloves. I think a lot of fans were thinking 'Could that be Trevor Wittman's glove? How does the Wittman camp feel about that [not being the case]?

"We're just happy that the UFC is making those changes," Gaethje said. " I mean, obviously, we would love for it to be our gloves. But at the end of the day the issue with the glove that we're using is very uncomfortable. It does not promote a comfortable [hand] position. I think that's one of the most important things for us players.

"Imagine putting the glove on getting ready for the biggest fight of your life, your fingertips are going numb and your hands are just, you're in pain in places that you didn't know there would be pain, you know, between your knuckles.

"I mean, these were the issues, these were the issues that we were trying to solve. I have no idea if these guys are going to do that. But you know, I hope so. But I think from our perspective we're just happy that the change is being made.

"We're not going to sit here and get mad, or be some kind of way because it wasn't our glove because they didn't pick our gloves, I just hope that these ones, you know, work."

Gaethje: New Gloves Won't Solve Eye Pokes

"There's never gonna be a glove that gets rid of eye pokes," Gaethje admitted. "Especially with the open finger gloves because it's just part of what we do, and the natural human reaction if you ever get frightened, or if you ever see someone get frightened, or caught off guard, it's always this [Gaethje extends his arms in front of his face, fingers out].

"This is our first initiative. ... The gloves were putting you in those positions more, even when you didn't want to do that even when you were trying to make a fist it would still promote this position [outstretched fingers]. So I think that was the biggest issue. I haven't tried the gloves on. ... I think they might help but we'll see. You can't know until you put those things on."

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Mathew Riddle

MATHEW RIDDLE

Mathew is a UK-based combat sports journalist  and graphic designer. He joined MMAKO when it was first founded in 2023. Find his work on The Fight Fanatic & Heavy on UFC. He can be contacted on mr@thefightfanatic.com