There were more than a few observers that were skeptical when Alexander Gustafsson laid his gloves down in the Octagon following a fourth-round submission defeat to Anthony Smith at UFC Stockholm on June 1.
Included among those skeptics was former rival Jon Jones, who tweeted “Honestly I don’t believe you,” after Gustafsson announced his retirement in front of his countrymen. However, “The Mauler” further elaborated on his feelings during a post-fight interview, and it seemed to make his decision concrete.
“It feels like I don’t have it in me anymore, to be honest,” he said that day in an interview on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “I just have that feeling it’s time now. I don’t want to be a journeyman. I don’t want to do this because I’m getting paid. I want to do this because I love it. I want to be at the top.”
Now that a little more than a month has passed since that defeat, Gustafsson seems to already be getting the itch to compete again. In an interview with MMAnytt, the 32-year-old Swede hinted that a return could be imminent.
“I fought my last fight against Anthony Smith and it didn’t go as planned,” Gustafsson said. “I felt an incredible frustration. I’m a really sore loser and I left my gloves in the cage and felt that it’s enough now.
“But with that said I still have this tingle in my hands. This is very new, it’s been a month and I’m far from a retired fighter in my way of thinking and such. I’ve made my decision and so on but it takes time to adapt and accept the new things in life and your role in all of it.”
While Gustafsson admitted to MMAnytt that he already misses fighting, he also revealed that he continues to work out at the Allstars Training Center on a daily basis. Gustafsson lost four of his last six bouts within the Octagon and was finished in three of those defeats. Regarded as one of the top light heavyweights in the world during much of his UFC tenure, Gustafsson went 0-3 in title bouts within the Las Vegas-based promotion.