Alexander Gustafsson suffered a difficult loss at home on Saturday. | Photo: Anton Gurevich/Sherdog.com
In mixed martial arts, things can change in a moment. At UFC on Fox 14, Alexander Gustafsson went from being the No. 1 contender for Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title, to losing his spot to Anthony Johnson.
Many fans and MMA pundits alike thought Gustafsson defeated Jones at UFC 165, leading the Swedish fighter to campaign for a rematch. But according to the 28-year-old, he is done trying to coax “Bones” into a fight.
“No, right now it’s done. I need to recover,” Gustafsson said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “I’m out of that dream. I need to get back and work harder.”
With a reported 30,000 people in attendance at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Gustafsson was visibly upset with the final result against “Rumble.” When asked about his outpouring of emotion, Gustafsson explained what he was feeling.
“It was just a lot of pain. I just lost my fight. I just lost in front of 30,000 Swedish fans,” Gustafsson said. “It was a tough thing to deal with and it still is. Whatever hurts you gets you stronger though, so it’s all good.”
Gustafsson made no excuses for his performance, going as far as to say that he felt great en route to the Octagon. According to Gustafsson, what it boils down to is the power that Rumble manages to put behind his shots.
“Well, I got hit... I felt fine all the way through the fight, into the fight, the few minutes that we were fighting each other,” Gustafsson said. “He caught me. He saw his opportunity and he took it and he did what he had to do to win the fight. I’m gonna take a few days off, go back to the gym and hit the bag. You’re always learning from your mistakes, and I learned today that I need to keep my guard up. So, that’s it.”
After the fight, some critics were claiming Johnson had caught Gustafsson with a headbutt prior to pouring it on. The Alliance MMA product quieted that noise, saying he felt no such thing.
“No, I didn’t feel any headbutt,” Gustafsson said. “My game plan was basically to work, to work every round, tactics, along with my distance and my speed. But Anthony’s a beast and he came in with his pressure. He did what he had to do and he did it good.”
As far as a prediction for who comes out on top when Jones finally does meet Johnson, “The Mauler” kept it simple.
“Well, Anthony,” Gustafsson said. “He’s my favorite.”