Alexander Gustafsson Talks Title Shot: I Can’t Wish For More

After getting knocked out by Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson in his most recent fight and withdrawing from his subsequent bout with Glover Teixeira due to injury, No. 2-ranked UFC light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson didn’t believe that a title shot was coming his way all that soon.

Yet it somehow did, as UFC President Dana white confirmed this Wednesday (June 3. 2015) that he would indeed get the next shot at 205-pound champion Daniel Cormier at a yet-to-be-determined date. Maybe the UFC feels they owe Gustafsson a shot after his hyped rivalry with Jon Jones was never settled, but whatever the reasoning was, ‘The Mauler’ is extremely thankful. During a recent interview with MMA Viking, he expressed his surprise and gratitude at the fortunate set of events:

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“I haven’t actually even been thinking that much about the belt. I haven’t seen myself in that position, really, because of my loss. But here I am now and I’m very thankful. I’m so happy and very excited. I can’t wish for more.

“I believe that the UFC wants to see me against DC. That’s so simple. They really want to see us fight. Also, a good job from my managers, too. They’ve been working hard for this opportunity and I’m very thankful for this so I can’t wait.”

Gustafsson also said that he watched the title fight between Cormier and his old foe ‘Rumble,’ noting that it frustrated him because he saw several openings where he could have beat both highly ranked competitors:

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“Tons of them,” said Gustafsson. “It was so frustrating to watch that fight, but it is what it is. Anthony did a great job winning over me. All credit to him. DC did a great job against Anthony. That’s MMA.”

While MMA math rarely adds up, many still believe that Gustafsson has an uphill battle in facing ‘DC,’ the man who dominated the fighter who just knocked ‘The Mauler’ out. To prepare for the challenge that former Olympic wrestler Cormier presents, Gustafsson is relying on his training partner, Swedish champion wrestler Ilir Latifi:

“Ilir is a key sparring partner for this fight. I haven’t sparred with a guy having that much strength in him, and explosiveness. When it comes to the body type and everything, you know, it’s just like fighting ‘DC.’ So it’s great to have him here, I’ve been training with him a lot of years. He also have a fight coming up, so we’re both in camp and we’re both training hard everyday, so we’re going to be ready.”

So much to the disappointment of Ryan Bader, ‘The Mauler’ finally has his long-awaited title shot set, although it may not have come in the fashion he expected it to. Will his patience pay off in the form of an awaited rematch with Jon Jones if he can defeat Cormier for the title this year?

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