Alexander Gustafsson hints at possible UFC return
Alexander Gustafsson may not be entirely done with MMA after all.
Three time UFC title challenger Alexander Gustafsson got a heavy sendoff from the sport of MMA. Returning from a TKO loss to rival Jon Jones for the light heavyweight championship he took on Anthony Smith on home soil at the Globe Arena in Stockholm. He was a betting favourite heading into the bout, but couldn’t properly settle in to the fight and was eventually submitted in the fourth round.
Gustafsson surprised many by retiring after the loss, electing to leave the sport of MMA behind him, but not everyone was convinced that this would be a permanent decision. In an exclusive interview with MMAnytt, Gustafsson spoke about the loss – and admitted that he still feels the itch to compete.
“I fought my last fight against Anthony Smith and it didn’t go as planned,” Gustafsson tells MMAnytt’s Ashah Tafari. “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.”
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Keeping true to himself Gustafsson has been quiet since his retirement, and aside from partnering up with Swedish MMA promotion AK Fighting Championship, he hasn’t kept up to date with the latest happenings in MMA.
“I haven’t watched much MMA since I haven’t been so active myself, I don’t have time, energy or desire to watch, obviously I watch some fights, if there’s someone in my division who’s competing, that’s interesting, of course – that could be a future opponent,” the Swede said. “But otherwise I’ve been pretty bad at watching [MMA], I’ve just tried to create as much distance to the sport as possible, because you live it every day. But it’s different times now, so now I have some things to take care of and then we’ll see what happens.”
Gustafssons stance seems cryptic and vague. While maintaining status as a retired fighter, he doesn’t seem entirely committed, and admits to missing MMA daily.
“MMA has been a large part of my life for a very long time. June first in the Globe Arena was very tough for me and I’m an emotional person, it felt awful after the loss and it felt like ‘game over’ in that moment. I had hoped for a different outcome, but it turned out like it did and somehow I have to move on from that. But of course for every day that passes I miss it more and more.”
Losing in front of his home town fans was without a doubt an intense experience for Gustafsson, and he reacted accordingly, in the moment. However what is just as clear is the fact that he’s one of the greatest light heavyweights to compete in the UFC, and that he has what it takes to reach the top – should he decide to return.
“Nobody knows what the future holds,” Gustafsson concluded.
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