Alexander Gustafsson Needs A Reality Check


Over the weekend, Alexander Gustafsson made a few comments about the chances of him facing Jon Jones for the light heavyweight championship. It has been rumored over the past few weeks that Gustafsson is close to a title shot despite having to pull out of his last fight with Gegard Mousasi. He had this to say to

 “He wants to fight me, and I want to fight him,” Gustafsson said. “[The UFC hasn’t] offered me the fight yet. I’m just really hoping to get some answers soon.

”I’m really hoping for it, and I think I will get the fight. I think I will be offered a title fight very soon. Nothing is set or signed, though.”

It must be safe to say he thinks very highly of himself. I’ve always been impressed by Gustafsson based on his range and how his past three fights have been completely one-sided. He’s lived up to his nickname “The Mauler”, but there is one problem about his claim to fight for the championship. He’s yet to beat a top contender in the light heavyweight division.

He’s had quality victories over Vladimir Matyushenko, Thiago Silva, and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua .That doesn’t seem to be worthy enough to earn a title shot, especially in this division where there are still plenty of top level fighters. If he had beaten Mousasi convincingly, then I’d agree with him because that would have been another victory over a top ten light heavyweight.

This reminds me of the Chris Weidman situation except there is one major difference. Weidman was scheduled to fight Tim Boetsch at UFC 155, but he was injured in training camp similar to Gustafsson. The middleweight division was depleted and had no worthy contenders when Weidman versus Anderson Silva was announced. Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher lost their respective fights, while they didn’t feel that Vitor Belfort should get another title shot yet.

The light heavyweight division has contenders and it starts with Lyoto Machida, who seems to be on the brunt end of criticism recently. I’m not sure why everyone is hard on him when he’s done so much for the sport. The fight against Dan Henderson was a letdown to an extent. Regardless of that, he had a smart game plan and outclassed Henderson in every way. The fact that fight went to split decision shows how poor judging can be in the UFC.

Also has Dana White, Joe Silva, and everyone else forgotten that Machida gave Jon Jones massive problems in their first fight? Other than Vitor Belfort, nobody has given Jones problems like that than Machida did. He rocked Jones on one occasion and made him seem very confused at one point. Sure the fight ended in the second round with Jones dominating, but there is no doubt that Machida won that first round.

It doesn’t make any sense to me why Machida should be brushed to the side when he’s won his last two fights and gave Jones a hard-fought fight when they faced each other at UFC 140. Then Glover Teixeira has looked impressive over the past year winning his past four fights. He’s another fighter that needs better competition, but still would deserve the opportunity to face Gustafsson in a number one contender’s bout.

Why does Gustafsson feel that he deserves a title shot right now? It would be interesting to see him face Jones because they are very similar in size. That doesn’t mean he deserves a title shot with his resume showing his best win was against an out of shape Shogun. This is what else he had to say about a possible title shot.

 “I’m not going to be quiet anymore,” Gustafsson said. “I really want this fight. I really want to fight Jones. It’s on. It’s on. I will do anything I can to make it happen.

You will do anything to make it happen by beating one more opponent whether it’s Machida or Teixeira. Both fighters have just as much claim to a title shot as he does. People may want to see the matchup between them too, but it won’t be make much of a difference in buy rate regardless of whom Jon Jones faces. He’s a superstar now and people will watch him fight anyone.

If you ask MMA fans around, I’m sure three-fourths of the fan base will agree on that Gustafsson still has a lot to prove. If you matchup with Jones and Gustafsson, that fight doesn’t go past two rounds. There are many people that don’t see him as a legit threat to Jones, although there aren’t any light heavyweights that truly do. Machida may be crafty and dangerous, while Teixeira is powerful and has a ground game that can hang with Jones. Its safe to say Jones will still defeat both of them handily simply because he’s on another level than all of the light heavyweights.

I’d like to see Jones fight at least one more time at light heavyweight to see if he can break Tito Ortiz’s record of most successful title defenses. It would be nice to see someone that is truly the number one contender, not someone that constantly talked to the media about it. Gustafsson may not be Chael Sonnen, but he’ll get similar criticism to Sonnen about talking his way to a title shot if he were to get one without fighting one more time.

With all the Fox Sports cards coming out, I’d really like to see Gustafsson face either Machida or Teixeira on one of those cards. There is no doubt he’s in the discussion of a title shot. The issue is that there are fighters that deserve it as much as him. Hopefully, we can see Gustafsson face either Machida or Teixeira come August and see who is the rightful challenger to face Jon Jones for the light heavyweight championship.

You can follow me on twitter at @Allen_Strk or e-mail me at [email protected]. Also don’t forget to follow @MMASucka on twitter for all breaking news and updates.

Share this article

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *