Alexander Gustafsson
The Mauler

Sweden

Considering comeback
Light HeavyweightUFC
September 2, 2019
Gustafsson is discussing a potential comeback with UFC brass, according to Ryan O'Leary of MMA Viking.
ANALYSIS
Gustafsson shocked fans when he retired at the age of 32 following a June 1 loss to Anthony Smith in front of his home country, so it's not too surprising to find out that decision may have been a little premature. He claims to currently weigh in the range of 240-25 pounds, however, which means he likely needs some time in the gym prior to making any kind of return fight official. While a return fight could be in the works for a while, Gustafsson did express an openness to fighting Luke Rockhold, who like Gustafsson, is coming off a two-fight losing streak.
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Stuns crowd with retirement
Light HeavyweightUFC
June 1, 2019
Gustafsson lost to Anthony Smith via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:38 of Round 4 at UFC Fight Night 153 in Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday.
ANALYSIS
Gus looked a bit lethargic in the early going, allowing his opponent to pressure him to the fence and land strikes for the better part of the first two rounds. He was able to take control with some nice combinations and a big body kick in the third, but a failed takedown attempt in Round 4 allowed Smith to take the back and sink in the choke. Gustafsson was visibly upset after the loss, telling the crowd "the show is over, guys" before leaving his gloves in the cage. Whether this is a true retirement or just a product of frustration is yet to be seen, but it's possible that Gustafsson is having a hard time seeing his way back to the title picture after the fourth loss in his last six fights. If he were to call it quits, "The Mauler" would finish his professional MMA career with a record of 18-6.
Draws Anthony Smith in Sweden
Light HeavyweightUFC
March 9, 2019
Gustafsson will face Anthony Smith in a light heavyweight bout at UFC Stockholm on June 1, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
The two most recent light heavyweight title contenders, both beaten by champion Jon Jones, will meet to headline the UFC Fight Night in Gustafsson's home country of Sweden. Smith ended up making it all five rounds against Jones, while Gustafsson was stopped via strikes in the second round. Gustafsson enters with slight height and reach advantages, in addition to holding the edge in volume striking, takedown average and striking defense. Smith will be a betting underdog, though he's the younger combatant with slightly better striking defense marks, though most of his stats were compiled in the 185-pound division.
Loses via TKO at UFC 232
Light HeavyweightUFC
December 29, 2018
Gustafsson was defeated by Jon Jones via TKO (punches) at 2:02 of Round 3 at UFC 232 on Saturday in Los Angeles.
ANALYSIS
Gustafsson put up a good fight. The first round was uneventful and Jones likely won due to a higher output of strikes. He also found success with leg kicks and seemed to injure Gustafsson's leg. In the second round business picked up and the fighters traded strikes. "The Mauler" displayed great takedown defense through the first two rounds, but Jones was able to secure a takedown in the third round. From there, he landed huge ground and pound that forced Gustafsson to give up his back. Jones rained down strikes which forced the referee to stop the fight.
Set for title fight against Jon Jones
Light HeavyweightUFC
October 10, 2018
Gustafsson (hamstring) will take on Jon Jones (suspension) for the light heavyweight title at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
The pair squared off at UFC 165 back in September of 2013, with Jones winning by unanimous decision. Not only was that fight considered one of the best UFC contests of all time, but it was the closest Jones ever came to losing since a controversial DQ loss to Matt Hamill in 2009. Gustafsson was the first fighter to ever complete a takedown against Jones, and the 110 significant strikes he landed were far more than any other opponent Jones has faced in his decade-long MMA career. This is largely due to the fact that Gustafsson is a tall and long fighter himself, as he stands at 6-foot-5 with a 79-inch reach -- numbers that more closely resemble Jones than anyone else in the light heavyweight division. Fast forward to 2018, where neither fighter has had a match in quite some time. Gustafsson has battled shoulder and hamstring injuries, while Jones faced a 15-month suspension after taking the banned substance Turinabol. Jones ultimately got his suspension greatly reduced, and will be eligible for the title again in late-2018. This announcement also likely means that Daniel Cormier -- who will defend his heavyweight title Nov. 3 -- will be stripped of his 205-pound belt.
Could be included on UFC 230 card
Light HeavyweightUFC
September 26, 2018
Gustafsson (hamstring) is under consideration for a spot on the UFC 230 card and could face Yoel Romero (orbital) in a light heavyweight bout, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Helwani notes that a few details need to be worked out before any fight is finalized, but the fact that Gustafsson is in the mix for the card suggests that he's rebounding well from the severe hamstring injury that forced him to withdraw from the UFC 227 event back on Aug. 4. Like Gustafsson, Romero is also recovering from an injury of his own, though the procedure he required for a fractured orbital probably hasn't affected his training schedule as significantly. If the two fighters agree to a matchup, an interim and/or official title would likely be at stake.