Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson finds himself in a very frustrating situation, and is doing a slow burn as a result. “The Mauler” isn’t happy with the organization’s plans to rebook Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier for Jan.3 after the champion was forced to withdraw from UFC 178 on Sept.27 because of a leg injury.
The talented Swede was quick to point out after the news broke that he was initially slated to face “Bones” in Las Vegas in a highly-anticipated rematch. Gustafsson’s first encounter with Jones at UFC 165 was an epic clash, and his stock was raised dramatically despite the unanimous decision loss.
Gustafsson missed out on his chance for revenge against Jones at UFC 178 because of a knee injury. He recently underwent successful surgery and had been eagerly anticipating the winner of Jones-Cormier. Now with a three-month delay in that matchup, an angry Gustafsson had planned on staying on the sidelines until getting his title shot. However, UFC President Dana White doesn’t see that scenario playing out.
In an interview with UFC.com, White stated that they would probably do another fight for Gustafsson to allow him to stay active, be on top of his game and to make some money. He says it’s not like the organization removed him from the Jones fight. White says the Gustafsson injury brought Cormier in as the next title challenger, and “DC” vs. Jones is the fight they are doing at UFC 182.
The UFC boss confirmed that the fight that probably makes the most sense would be for Gustafsson to face Anthony Johnson.
Gustafsson’s last Octagon appearance was in March when he stopped previously undefeated Jimi Manuwa in the second round of their main event clash at Fight Night 37 in England. It earned the 27-year old Gustafsson Fight and Performance of the Night bonuses. If he were to remain on the sidelines to wait out the Jones vs. Cormier winner, it would be well over a year between fights.
“Rumble” has looked terrific in his second stint with the promotion by registering a dominant decision win over Phil Davis, followed by a brutal 44-second knockout of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC on FOX 12. A clash between the two heavy-handed contenders would loom as a dangerous fight for both men and would certainly earn the winner a title shot.
It’s obvious that the towering Gustafsson is currently the odd man out in the light heavyweight title picture. The promotion isn’t about to change course when it comes to the highly-anticipated matchup between Jones and Cormier. It appears as though the no. 1-ranked contender will indeed be asked to fight again rather than sit things out.
It’ll be interesting to hear what Gustafsson thinks about the possibility of having to take a non-title fight next.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports