No. 1-ranked UFC light heavyweight contender Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson has had some bad luck along the road to his highly anticipated rematch with Jon Jones.
“The Mauler” was supposed to face “Bones” in the main event of September 27’s UFC 178, but a torn meniscus forced him out and opened the door for Daniel Cormier to replace him. Jones eventually withdrew with a torn meniscus of his own, but not before his infamous UFC 178 media day brawl with Cormier lent an insane amount of coverage and hype to the bout, leaving “DC” with the next shot, which will take place at January 3, 2015’s UFC 182.
Gustafsson initially resisted fighting again by saying that he would wait for a title shot, but he soon warmed up to a bout with surging No. 5-ranked Anthony Johnson. That is, until “Rumble” was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, leaving his UFC status highly up in the air.
Gustafsson was once again without an opponent, but today, news broke from MMA Mania that the UFC is allegedly targeting a Gustafsson vs. Rashad Evans showdown for a January UFC event in “The Mauler’s” backyard of Stockholm, Sweden.
It’s a talked about fight that both sides have been apparently moving towards for some time. Nothing is official as of yet, but the fight is reportedly set to air on a UFC on FOX card.
The No. 3-ranked Evans has been out of action since a first round starching of Chael Sonnen at UFC 167. He was set to fight former training partner Cormier in the co-main event of February’s UFC 170, but tore his ACL is training and has been recovering ever since.
“The Mauler” would be quite the return challenge for him, as beating Evans would be a clear-cut ticket to his next shot at Jones (or first shot at Cormier).
Gustafsson famously took Jones to the limit at UFC 165 in September 2013, losing an ultra-close split decision that many still feel he won. Evans, on the other hand, found no such success against Jones in their bout at UFC 145 in April 2012.
The MMA math would suggest this is an easy win for the world-class Gustafsson, as Evans, despite being a pioneer of the sport and one of its more recognizable names, would have to pull off something special to defeat “The Mauler” in his homeland.
It could be argued that “Rumble” would have provided him with a much tougher test, but there’s nothing we can do about that.
Is this a fight you want to see? Would you give Evans much of a chance to emerge victorious?
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski for USA TODAY Sports