UFC light-heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson really broke on to the scene in the MMA world when he earned his first big league title shot, against nne other than 205-pound wrecking machine Jon Jones. The fight went down at UFC 165, and ‘The Mauler’ put in more than just a game showing against ‘Bones’, in fact, many fans still believe that Gus won the title that night.
Rest assured though, Gustafsson wasn’t going to dwell on the past, and took a very risky fight in London against ‘Poster Boy’ Jimi Manuwa. The subsequent, and rather thrilling knockout of Manuwa in his hometown was more than enough to earn Gus another shot at Jones, this time at UFC 178. A torn meniscus dashed Gustafsson’s chance to compete at 178, and in stepped Daniel Cormier to replace him.
Now forced to watch ‘DC’ take on ‘Bones’ for the belt, Gustafsson spoke with UFC.com about the injury and his future title hopes:
“I was sparring and I felt my knee pop twice, but it didn’t hurt, it just felt strange,” he said. “I finished training and came home and then I woke up the next morning and I could barely walk on my right leg. Then I felt the knee right away. I’m hoping for a very fast recovery so I can get back very soon,” said the Arboga native, who noted that the messages of support he has already received from fans “mean a lot to me.”
Gus joins the unfortunate list of elite UFC fighters who have sustained serious injuries in training over the recent years. Other UFC talent that succumbed to high profile injuries include GSP, Anderson Silva, Anthony Pettis, Chael Sonnen’s ego and public image, and Cain Velasquez to name a few. One thing is for sure though, Gus isn’t letting this deter him.
“I’m disappointed I can’t fight, but this is not the end, it’s just the beginning,” said the Swedish star. “I’m going to come back much stronger. (Jones vs. Cormier) is an interesting matchup,” he said. “Both are great athletes and it’s going to be a tough fight for sure. But Jones has his height and reach advantage over DC, so I think that will be the key thing in this fight. I think Jones by decision.”
So with ‘The Mauler’ on the bench for the moment, could Cormier swoop in and steal the title from Jones, or will the taller man outclass the stocky wrestler at UFC 178? Should DC fail in his attempt at ‘Bones’, it would make the inevitable rematch between Jones and Gus all the more intriguing, mainly because Gus may be the second to last contender at present for the belt. When asked of his feeling s towards Jones after UFC 165, Gustafsson simply stated: ‘I really want to fight him’.
Could this all be leading to ‘Bones’ making his much debated move to heavyweight, or will he even leave the 205-pound division unscathed? Many questions to be answered, but we won’t know anything until UFC 178.
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