In January, current Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight king Daniel Cormier dispatched Volkan Oezdemir with a second-round TKO. Fight fans were eager for Cormier to rematch No. 1 contender Alexander Gustafsson. Instead, Cormier chose to return to the heavyweight division and challenge Stipe Moicic for his belt.
Gustafsson previously met Cormier back in October 2015 at UFC 192. Despite a close fight where the two fighters went back and forth over five rounds, the Swede lost the bout via a split decision. Like Gustafsson’s other title fight against Jon Jones, one could argue he deserved to get the judges’ nod.
Gustafsson appeared on “The MMA Hour” and admitted how frustrating the situation has been.
“I’ve been a little bit frustrated,” Gustafsson said on The MMA Hour, “because I was counting on the DC fight. Me and him fighting for the belt again, that was my plan. That was my plan basically, and it didn’t end up like that, so it’s been a little bit frustrating. I’ve been injured for a while too. I got injured not long after the fight I had against Glover [Teixeira], so I’m really motivated. I’ve been out for a while and I’m just tired of being out such a long period of time. I just want to be active and I feel the fire and I feel the motivation.
“And now when [Cormier] goes up a weight class, we’re just sitting there on the sideline watching everything happen. So I’m a little bit frustrated, a little bit disappointed.”
Gustafsson, who has challenged for the light heavyweight belt on two occasions, has been warring with Cormier on Twitter.
Dc u talk about the blachowicz fight?! What about when “someone” predicted the left kick and still u fell for it..— Alexander Gustafsson (@AlexTheMauler) January 31, 2018
Damn alex, like that? Too late bud, this the shit you should have been saying before the fight was made. Now chill before I beat ur face in again pretty boy! https://t.co/Okm0hEW6qt— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) January 31, 2018
Gustafsson explained the reasoning behind those social media posts: ”I don’t know what to say to that just more than, I’m not the one disappearing here,” Gustafsson said. “He knows I’m here and he knows I’m waiting for him. It feels like he’s just playing it safe, and he has everything to gain in that [UFC 226] fight and nothing to lose.”
The Swede is looking at potential matchups to keep him sharp while Cormier prepares for his title challenge against Miocic. To make things more difficult, two of the top-five ranked UFC light heavyweights are Gustafsson’s teammates at Sweden’s Allstars Training Center in Jimi Manuwa and Ilir Latifi. While Gustafsson would prefer to face off against Luke Rockhold, he’s keeping his options open.
“It is a tricky situation,” Gustafsson admitted.
“As it comes to now and my positioning now, I’m just feeling that it doesn’t matter what happens, I’m just here to take that belt. That’s what my focus is and my purpose is right now. And of course I’m happy for the guys. They’re winning and we have a really strong team, and that’s something that means a lot to me. But I have my goal. I have my eyes and my focus on that belt right now.”
“I’m injury-free, I’m back in full training, and I had a great showing against Glover, but there’s so much more of me,” Gustafsson said. “I’m here and I’m waiting a good fight, a good opportunity, and that’s about it. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see what the plans are for our division and all of that.
“There is a conversation and that’s how much I know now. We’re talking to the UFC about it and trying to find a way to solve this, solve this and come back and start competing again.”