Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson is undoubtedly one of the best 205-pounders out there right now. He took former champion Jon Jones to the limit in 2013 in one of the best fights the division has ever seen, and he has proven to be a well-rounded fighter, but at the end of the day, he’s coming off of a brutal knockout loss to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, and may not deserve a title shot.
However, whether or not he deserves it doesn’t matter, as “The Mauler” is set to take on newly crowned champion Daniel “DC” Cormier for the title at UFC 192 on October 3, 2015 in Houston, Texas.
Recently speaking with MMAJunkie, Cormier admitted that he was a bit surprised that the shot was given to Gustafsson after “The Mauler’s” recent loss. Not only did he get knocked out, but the Swedish superstar also talked about retirement after the devastating loss. Cormier stated that he’s happy to be fighting a guy who’s head may not be in the right state of mind:
“Being the way that he lost to Anthony (Johnson) kind of made it surprising that I was fighting him,” Cormier recently told MMAjunkie. “But for me, if there was a guy, I’d prefer it be a guy who just experienced what he did in the octagon last time he was there, because not only did he get destroyed, he publicly said he was thinking about stopping fighting and pursuing something different.”
In a sport like mixed martial arts (MMA), “DC” says a fighter has to be all in, and to hear Gus say those things actually gives the champion quite a bit of confidence:
“You’ve got to be all-in on this sport; you can’t be one foot out the door,” Cormier said. “For me, my confidence is very high after hearing him saying those things. You don’t quit after you get beat. You pick yourself up and you start rebuilding to accomplish your goals.”
Cormier, however, feels the opposite, saying that unlike Gustafsson, he has to fight:
“Hearing that, it gives me more confidence in knowing that if Alex didn’t have to fight any more, he’d be OK with it,” he said. “That’s not how I am. I need to fight.”
Although he’s not sure it will necessarily help in the fight, Cormier admits that he probably has the mental advantage over Gustafsson, saying that even the slightest bit of quitting is not good for a fighter:
“Anybody fighting right now that’s thinking about the other side, you do hold a little bit of an advantage,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s an advantage to win the fight going out, but going into your training sessions, you don’t have your eyes on what’s next. You’re still focusing in the moment.
“He had to get refocused and think about doing this again. He thought about quitting, and at the end of the day, that’s not good when you’re fighting.”
Will mental toughness play a factor in this 205-pound showdown? Regardless, who do you see winning this one?