There have been many men in the history of fighting, who never reached the biggest goal of being a world champion, despite being around the top for most parts of their careers. Men, who have always been good, but simply not great enough. Alexander Gustafsson doesn't want to be one of them.
He came closer than anyone before to beating then-205-pound champion Jon Jones. He fought to a close split-decision loss to current champion Daniel Cormier. Two times, Gustafsson had the opportunity to achieve greatness. Two times he has failed. But he is not done, yet.
"I will continue as long as I know I have the potential to be the best," Gustafsson told Swedish outlet Allehanda. "If there comes a day where I feel I can not go any further than this, that day I stop. Then I put the gloves on the shelf. But I feel that there's more to achieve. I know I can be better. I know I have the potential to beat 'DC'. I know I can beat Jon Jones.
"I do not want to be a journeyman. I do not want to be a fighter that people should beat to get a title fight. I do not want to be in fights where people see me as an obstacle on the road. I want to be the man challenging. I'm not satisfied with being ranked second and third. I'm such a self-critic, that I find it hard to give myself credit for something."
"Sure, it was a good fight against DC. It was a good fight against Jones, but I didn't win. So that is not a good fight. It is not enough that I've put Sweden on the map. I've heard a hundred times how good that was," he said. "I appreciate what people say to me and that they give me credit. But for me personally, it's not enough. I want to go all the way."
After two unsuccessful title opportunities, it will be tough for the 28-year old Swede to work his way back up to another one in the near future. But even without a title on the line, there are still some big fights left for him in the UFC, according to him.
"We'll see what the future looks like now," Gustafsson sad. "I spoke to Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta on Friday. 'Big plans', was all they said. We'll see what they have to offer. I am 28 and I see myself involved with this a few more years. I want to go some more years."