Alexander Gustafsson will face Anthony Johnson on home soil in 2015. | Anton Gurevich/Sherdog.com
Alexander Gustafsson will square off with Anthony Johnson in a light heavyweight bout on Jan. 24.
UFC President Dana White first brought word of the matchup via Instagram . The matchup is expected to serve as the UFC on Fox 14 headliner and will determine the division’s next No. 1 contender. UFC on Fox 14 will take place in Stockholm at the Tele2 Arena, a stadium which can hold more than 30,000 spectators.
“This is going to be an epic event,” Gustafsson, a native of Sweden, stated in a release. “I want more than 30,000 fans to come and witness me win on Jan. 24. Then I’m going to go and get the title. My journey back to the top starts now. ”
Gustafsson last competed at UFC Fight Night in London on March 8, when he stopped Jimi Manuwa via second-round TKO. Prior to that, “The Mauler” gave Jon Jones the most difficult test of his career, losing a hard-fought five-round verdict to the reigning light heavyweight king at UFC 165.
While White hinted at a potential Gustafsson-Johnson pairing approximately three months ago, the path for the fight wasn’t cleared until last week, when a civil lawsuit against Johnson was dismissed. The Blackzilians representative had been indefinitely suspended by the UFC following a report detailing alleged threats and a history of abuse by the fighter toward the mother of two of his children.
Johnson was reinstated when the civil protection order filed against him was withdrawn and the promotion completed its own investigation of the matter.
After a two-year hiatus, the 30-year-old “Rumble” has been impressive since returning to the UFC earlier this year. He earned a dominant unanimous decision over Phil Davis at UFC 172 in April before knocking out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in 44 seconds at UFC on Fox 12 on July 26.
“This fight might be on his home turf, but I’m ready to go over to Sweden and prove that I’m the next in the line for the UFC light heavyweight title,” Johnson said. “I’m not intimidated by fighting in front of Alex’s hometown fans. I’m going to go in there and look for the knockout like I do in all of my fights. I can’t wait for this.”