Alexander Gustafsson became a star that night on September 21, 2013, in losing a narrow decision to Jon Jones in their UFC light heavyweight title fight back on UFC 165. In defeat, Gustafsson’s star power within the sport propelled to an all-time high, winning the 2013 Fighters’ Only International fighter of the year award. And winning the EA Sports video game cover vote.
‘The Mauler came into this main event at UFC Fight Night 37 in London, just one victory away from putting himself back into that title shot position. In the 2nd round, a knee by Gustafsson to his undefeated opponent Jimi Manuwa spelled the beginning of the end for the hometown favourite. Gustafsson followed up with some shots that forced Manuwa to crumble to the ground and the referee Marc Goddard to step in and put an end to the bout. Gustafsson celebrated with a less than perfect summersault, the only flaw in an otherwise brilliant performance.
Post-fight, an overly excited and usually soft spoken Alex Gustafsson snatched the mic away from the interviewer and new colour commentator, Dan Hardy, and called out the current light heavyweight champion.
“Jon Jones, I want my title shot again. I’m right here. Whenever you want man, whenever you want,” Gustafsson said.
UFC President Dana White praised Gustafsson at the post-fight press conference, including rewarding him with both the fight of the night and the performance of the night bonuses.
“Absolute beast. He’s [Gustafsson] the biggest star in Europe right now. He’s a huge star in North America. I told you guys when we did the EA cover vote, he won the thing. I can’t say enough good positive things about him,” Dana said.
As for what’s next for Gustafsson, Dana did confirm that the #1 ranked light heavyweight would be getting the next shot at the UFC light heavyweight title–between the winner of Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira at UFC 172.
“Now we’ll see what happens. Obviously if Jones wins, we have a nasty rematch. If he doesn’t, then it’s him and Glover Teixeira,” Dana Said.
If Jon Jones were to defeat Glover Teixeira, this would set up the huge rematch between himself and Alexander Gustafsson, which Dana sees a potential stadium in Sweden as a possible venue.
“I think if we did Gustafsson-Jones out here you could do a stadium. I think they got one in Stockholm that holds 40,000 people,” Dana said.
The Mauler will now rest up and await his next opponent as he will watch the light heavyweight title fight intently on April 26th.
The full post-fight press conference can be seen on ufc.tv.