Alexander Gustafsson Promises Third Time Will Be the Charm in His Hunt for UFC Gold
Alexander Gustafsson has twice come close to winning the UFC light heavyweight title but he was thwarted both times in a pair of razor close decisions.
At UFC 232, Gustafsson will have an opportunity to rectify his championship resume when he faces Jon Jones for the second time with the light heavyweight title on the line.
His first fight against Jones is hailed as one of the greatest mixed martial arts showcases of all time but as much as great as that moment may have been for the sport, Gustafsson still went home empty handed in his attempt to win the title.
The same thing happened in his most recent bid to become champion when Gustafsson fell in a heartbreaking split decision to Daniel Cormier back in 2015.
Heading into his rematch with Jones on Dec. 29, Gustafsson promises that he will fix the errors of the past and leave the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with that light heavyweight title around his waist.
“I’m here to finish the fight. I’m here to look for the finish. If I get that finish, I’ll give everything I have,” Gustafsson said about his rematch with Jones. “However this fight will end up, I will make sure I win this fight. If it takes that I push him for five rounds or if I see the opportunity to finish, whatever. I’m not going to do the same mistake a third time.
“It’s not going to happen. I’m here to finish the job.”
Five years have passed since the first fight with Jones ended so both fighters have obviously grown and evolved over time.
Gustafsson came closer than anybody else in history to handing Jones his first legitimate defeat in the UFC but still came up short when the decision was read.
This time around, Gustafsson is leaving nothing to chance and he guarantees Jones is facing a much different fighter now than he did in 2013.
“I’m just physically and mentally ready for this task now,” Gustafsson said. “It’s the right time for me. I’m just a different type of fighter now. I’ve been developing everything in my arsenal. I’m better in every aspect. I’m faster than ever. I’m a smarter fighter.
“Every aspect of the game is so much better right now.”
As much as the title will mean to him, Gustafsson can’t deny that becoming the first fight to hand Jones a defeat would arguably be even bigger in the landscape of the sport.
Jones is the longest reigning light heavyweight champion in UFC history and he’s routinely regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
That’s why Gustafsson knows what it means for his own legacy to get a win over him.
“This is the big fight I’ve been waiting for and training for my whole life,” Gustafsson said. “This is the fight I’ve wanted for a very long time. It’s bigger than fighting someone else for the belt. This is me beating the best guy out there.
“Beating the guy that’s never been beaten and take his place. It’s the biggest thing there is for me right now.”