There are certain moments in a fighter’s career where attitudes can quickly change. Whether willingly or unwillingly, the fight game can adjust a fighter’s ambition on a dime. For Alexander Gustafsson, this came after his most recent loss at the hands of Jon Jones.
After giving Jones the toughest fight of his career in their first encounter, in a fight many believed Gustafsson won, the Swedes mindset was laser focused; get a rematch with Jon Jones and become the light heavyweight champion.
With the eventual rematch resulting in a convincing defeat, Gustafsson finds himself in the precarious position of a top contender with two losses to the champion. With another title shot in the immediate future extremely unlikely, Gustafsson’s attitude has been forced to change.
“I just have to compete as much as I can and not have the title or Jon Jones or anything else on my mind,” Gustafsson told Fight News Australia.
“I just have to take it one fight at a time and start getting the wins back. I want to try and get back to competing a lot and just stack up the wins, fight whoever whenever basically.”
The new outlook begins this Sunday (AEST) as Gustafsson returns to his hometown to take on Anthony Smith at UFC Stockholm. On paper, the fight has the potential to be an absolute cracker between two durable veterans who leave it all in the cage.
— UFC (@ufc) May 29, 2019
“He comes to fight, he’s a fighter’s fighter that’s for sure,” Gustafsson said.
“He hits hard, he comes forward, throws combinations and rushes people. He is hard to finish and hard to stop so it’s going to be a challenge for me, but I’m more than ready for it.
I have to be patient with this guy. He is extremely calm and relaxed in tough situations. He has a lot of fights behind him so he knows what he is doing. I’m not going to stress, I’m just going to take it has it comes and keep my flow going.”
UFC Stockholm is live on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass in Australia this Sunday, June 2nd from 3 am (AEST).
My earliest combat sports memory is watching David Tua knock people out with his left hook. I am extremely passionate about combat sports in Australia and my home country of New Zealand and I endeavour to grow the profile of martial arts and its athletes in both countries. Persistent Brazilian jiu-jitsu battler.