With a pair of controversial decisions in their last two bouts, Alliance MMA teammates (and former opponents) Alexander Gustafsson and Phil Davis find themselves without a new foe or a clear direction for the near future. Davis won a highly debated bout against Lyoto Machida at the early August UFC 163, while Gustafsson of course nearly wrested the UFC Light heavyweight championship from Jon Jones in a classic at UFC 165.
Their coach Eric Del Fierro recently spoke to “UFC Tonight’s” Ariel Helwani, who revealed that the coach indeed has a plan in place for two of his most prized pupils:
“In a perfect world, he’d like to see Phil Davis fight Gegard Mousasi next. Of course, remember, Mousasi, coming off that ACL surgery, flirting with the idea of going down to 185 but right now not set in stone. He’ll be available to fight again in February, and that’s when Davis wants to fight again. As for Gustafsson, he kind of joked that he wants him to fight Jon Jones next, that’s not going to happen, of course Jones fighting Glover Teixeira next. But he said perfect world, how about a fight against Ryan Bader, who is coming off a loss to Glover Teixeira, or Antonio Rogerio Nogueira who is getting married in November, taking some time off but would be ready to fight right around that time frame.”
The bouts proposed by Fierro definitely have some appeal. With Davis coming off of a decision win that many felt should have gone the other way, Mousasi could provide an excellent test for the No. 3-ranked Davis to prove his status as a legitimate contender.
However, matching Gustafsson against Bader would be kind of a head-scratching fight, because Bader was knocked out in two of his last three while ‘The Mauler’ is the rightful No. 1 contender in most peoples’ books. Nogueira was last seen defeating Rashad Evans in a lackluster fight at February’s UFC 156. He was forced to pull out of a scheduled UFC Fight Night 26 bout opposite Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, and his return is unknown due to his injury status and pending wedding.
Still, Gustafsson doesn’t really have a worthy contender in place otherwise. The winner of UFC 167’s Chael Sonnen vs. Evans bout could be a great opponent for ‘Gus’ to wait for, as would the winner of December’s Dan Henderson vs. Vitor Belfort UFC Fight Night 32 bout. What is your take on the direction Gustafsson and Davis will take next?