Despite not having the most appealing fighting style, No. 3-ranked light heavyweight Ryan Bader has compiled four-straight wins, and after taking part in an entertaining and heated confrontation with newly crowned champion Daniel Cormier at the UFC 187 post-fight press conference, talks of a potential title fight for Bader began to surface. However, it looks as if the UFC has decided to go in a different direction.
Appearing on tonight’s (June 3, 2015) edition of UFC Tonight, UFC president Dana White announced that the company is looking at possibly booking a former title challenger against “DC” for the champion’s first title defense:
“We’re actually looking at possibly Alexander Gustafsson,” said White.
Despite going into UFC 165 in 2013 as an extreme underdog and possibly even a relative unknown, Swedish striker Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson rose to stardom after he gave former light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones the toughest fight of the former champion’s dominant run. “The Mauler” unfortunately came out of the fight with a decision loss, but he established himself as a top contender in the 205-pound division.
Gustafsson didn’t fight again until March 2013 where he got right back to his winning ways, knocking out British slugger Jimi “Poster boy” Manuwa in the second round of the main event of UFC Fight Night 38. Then scheduled for a rematch with Jones at last September’s UFC 178, “The Mauler” was forced out of the bout due to injury and did not compete again until last January where things went downhill.
Gustaffson met the then surging Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in the main event of UFC on FOX 14 in “The Mauler’s” home of Stockholm, Sweden. Gustafsson was shockingly knocked out by Johnson in front of the Swedish faithful, putting his title hopes on hold once again, but it now looks as if he will finally get his second shot at gold, albeit not against Jones.
Cormier on the other hand, went 15-0 in his first 15 bouts to earn a shot at the former champion Jones at January’s UFC 182. After months of bad blood fueled hyped, Cormier dropped an upsetting decision loss to “Bones”. However, after Jones ran into some trouble and was stripped of the belt, “DC” stepped in to meet “Rumble” Johnson in the main event of UFC 187, scoring a third-round submission win and securing the vacant UFC light heavyweight championship.
Despite coming off of a loss, Gustafsson is undoubtedly still one of the best in the division, and this has all the makings to be a great fight. Who do you see taking this one?
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