Alexander Gustafsson
The Mauler
Draws Anthony Smith in Sweden
Light HeavyweightUFC
March 9, 2019
Gustafsson will face Anthony Smith in a light heavyweight bout at UFC Fight Night on June 1, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
The two most recent light heavyweight title contenders, both beaten by champion Jon Jones, will meet to headline the UFC Fight Night in Gustafsson's home country of Sweden. This fight is big for both fighters, as the winner will remain at, or very near the top, of the division and could be in line for another title fight.
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Loses via TKO at UFC 232
Light HeavyweightUFC
December 29, 2018
Gustafsson was defeated by Jon Jones via TKO (punches) at 2:02 of Round 3 at UFC 232 on Saturday in Los Angeles.
ANALYSIS
Gustafsson put up a good fight. The first round was uneventful and Jones likely won due to a higher output of strikes. He also found success with leg kicks and seemed to injure Gustafsson's leg. In the second round business picked up and the fighters traded strikes. "The Mauler" displayed great takedown defense through the first two rounds, but Jones was able to secure a takedown in the third round. From there, he landed huge ground and pound that forced Gustafsson to give up his back. Jones rained down strikes which forced the referee to stop the fight.
Set for title fight against Jon Jones
Light HeavyweightUFC
October 10, 2018
Gustafsson (hamstring) will take on Jon Jones (suspension) for the light heavyweight title at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
The pair squared off at UFC 165 back in September of 2013, with Jones winning by unanimous decision. Not only was that fight considered one of the best UFC contests of all time, but it was the closest Jones ever came to losing since a controversial DQ loss to Matt Hamill in 2009. Gustafsson was the first fighter to ever complete a takedown against Jones, and the 110 significant strikes he landed were far more than any other opponent Jones has faced in his decade-long MMA career. This is largely due to the fact that Gustafsson is a tall and long fighter himself, as he stands at 6-foot-5 with a 79-inch reach -- numbers that more closely resemble Jones than anyone else in the light heavyweight division. Fast forward to 2018, where neither fighter has had a match in quite some time. Gustafsson has battled shoulder and hamstring injuries, while Jones faced a 15-month suspension after taking the banned substance Turinabol. Jones ultimately got his suspension greatly reduced, and will be eligible for the title again in late-2018. This announcement also likely means that Daniel Cormier -- who will defend his heavyweight title Nov. 3 -- will be stripped of his 205-pound belt.
Could be included on UFC 230 card
Light HeavyweightUFC
September 26, 2018
Gustafsson (hamstring) is under consideration for a spot on the UFC 230 card and could face Yoel Romero (orbital) in a light heavyweight bout, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Helwani notes that a few details need to be worked out before any fight is finalized, but the fact that Gustafsson is in the mix for the card suggests that he's rebounding well from the severe hamstring injury that forced him to withdraw from the UFC 227 event back on Aug. 4. Like Gustafsson, Romero is also recovering from an injury of his own, though the procedure he required for a fractured orbital probably hasn't affected his training schedule as significantly. If the two fighters agree to a matchup, an interim and/or official title would likely be at stake.
Has 'serious injury', hopes to be back late 2018
Light HeavyweightUFC
August 7, 2018
Gustafsson, according to UFC President Dana White, is recovering from a serious hamstring injury, though is hopeful to return late in the year, Damon Martin of MMANYTT.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Gustafsson pulled out of UFC 227, where he was slated to fight Volkan Oezdemir, due to what was reportedly a minor injury. But, Dana White has shed knowledge on the situation that suggests the injury was much more significant than initially let on. White noted, "He had a serious injury to his hamstring. He doesn't have to do surgery, he's doing physical therapy and we're hoping he can come back before the end of the year."
Officially off UFC 227
Light HeavyweightUFC
July 23, 2018
Gustafsson will no longer fight at UFC 227 on Aug. 4 due to a minor undisclosed injury, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Gustafsson was originally scheduled to make his return against Volkan Oezdemir, but Oezdemir was forced to withdraw from the matchup due to an undisclosed injury of his own. The UFC had been actively searching for candidates to replace Oezdemir and keep Gustafsson on the card, with potential opponents including Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Ovince St. Preux. Even Khalil Rountree, and most recently Anthony Smith, have tossed their names into the hat. Smith even called out Gustafsson following his convincing KO victory over Shogun Rua at UFC Hamburg on Sunday, but hopes of that intriguing matchup were quickly snuffed out. It's unclear what might be next for Gustafsson, who hasn't seen the octagon since May 2017. His management team claims he would have been ready for any opponent the UFC threw at him, including a matchup with Daniel Cormier at heavyweight. Even with the long layoff, the 31-year-old Gustafsson is quite possibly the future of the 205-pound division, as retirement is on the horizon for Cormier, and Jon Jones remains suspended pending a ruling on his USADA case.