With his win over Glover Teixeira at UFC Stockholm this past weekend, Alexander Gustafsson will look forward to a summer showdown. Not between himself and another opponent, but instead looking forward to two men who will battle to determine the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world.
Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones are destined to fight at UFC 214 on July 29, and Gustafsson will watch closely. After all, his win over Teixeira puts him in such a place where he could possibly — and more than likely — be next in line for a shot at the belt.
If you ask him, there’s no question about it.
“Well, in my opinion, yes,” Gustafsson said, when asked at the UFC Stockholm press conference if he believes he should be the next championship contender. “I hope for a fight. They fight in July, let’s see what happens.”
Gustafsson has faced Cormier and Jones in the past, losing to both in bids to gain the 205-pound title. It’s reasonable to think Gustafsson would be split down the middle with who he wants to win and possibly face next. But according to Swedish fighter, there’s only one person he wants winning that fight — the current champ, Cormier.
Although a fight with Jones would be an undeniable draw for Gustafsson, the desire to face him is outweighed by his disdain. The former light heavyweight champion lost his belt because his toughest opponent was himself, and his out-of-cage activities turned into legal trouble that seeped into his career. While he’s found himself back in the Octagon, Jones still has some convincing to do in Gustafsson’s eyes.
Jones is not a champion, according to Gus.
“He is the biggest enemy. I don’t like him,” he said of Jones. “I give him that he’s the best fighter of all time. He’s the pound-for-pound best fighter in our division. ... He demolished everyone he fights. But as a person, as a champion, he’s not a champion in my eyes. He’s not a good person in my eyes. That’s why I always tell you guys, I hope DC wins because I like the guy. He’s a worthy champion. That’s what I mean when I say that, he’s the biggest enemy of all time.”
That same enemy will look to repeat his previous effort against Cormier, a win that saw Jones dominate him in a way no one had done up to and since then. Still, Gustafsson is hoping it won’t be that way, and Cormier ends up with his hand raised this summer.
Regardless of who wins UFC 214, Gustafsson said he’ll be ready. His two previous attempts at gold — one against Jones and the next against Cormier — were fights where he feels he lost in the late rounds. Next time, he says, he’ll be ready to go twice as long. If he finally wins the light heavyweight strap, it’ll be him who contenders are watching closely and no longer the other way around.
“It’s all about the last rounds,” Gustafsson said. “I’ve been so close to winning the fights, I lose a little bit at the end. I’m not going to lose on the finish line again. It’s not going to happen. Tonight I could have gone 10 rounds. I could go 10 rounds next time I fight DC or Jones.”