A number of emotions led to Alexander Gustafsson’s premature retirement last year.

Gustafsson returns to action at UFC Fight Island 3 this weekend when he makes his heavyweight debut against Fabricio Werdum.

It will be his first taste of action since getting submitted by Anthony Smith in the UFC Stockholm headliner in June last year. Following the loss — his second in a row — the “Mauler” would shockingly announce his retirement in the post-fight interview.

Of course, he would have a change of heart a couple of months later before revealing that a comeback was in the works. So what led to the retirement in the first place?

“It was an emotional moment. Nothing else,” Gustafsson told MMA Fighting on media day. “I was just heartbroken. It was a tough fight. It was in Stockholm. It was against a guy I know I’ve got the tools to beat but I didn’t obviously.

“It was a tough night and my emotions and thoughts were just chaos in my head.”

Gustafsson Taking Fights One At A Time

Things are much better now for Gustafsson who will be looking for a change in fortune at heavyweight.

It’s a move he felt the timing was right for and he believes a win over a former champion in Werdum is the perfect way to truly announce his return.

“I’ll challenge myself and see how it goes,” Gustafsson said. “I will win of course but let’s see how I feel about it.

“He’s a legend of the sport. He’s a former champion. It’s a perfect way to come back. I’ll beat Werdum on Saturday and then we’ll take the next one.”

If Gustafsson performs well and gets a win, it wouldn’t be surprising if he soon started targeting the heavyweight title. After all, he notably failed to win the light heavyweight title on three occasions.

However, he is taking things one fight at a time.

“I’m here to win my fights,” Gustafsson added. “Just take it from there. Where I’m in a situation where I can touch the belt, then we’ll go for the belt.

“Right now, it’s just one fight at a time. I’m fighting Werdum, I’ll beat Werdum on Saturday then we’ll take the next one. I’m here to stay.”

Do you think Gustafsson can become a future heavyweight champion?