After his knockout win vs. Mauricio Rua at UFC Hamburg, Anthony Smith called for a fight with Alexander Gustafsson, who was in need of a new opponent at UFC 227 after Volkan Oezdemir pulled out with an injury. As it turns out, if Smith is to fight Gustafsson, it won’t be on the card, as Gustafsson is also out.
MMAjunkie’s John Morgan first reported the news shortly after UFC Hamburg.
Well, before everyone gets too excited about Gustafsson-Smith, I’m told by multiple UFC officials that Alex is actually hurt and out of 227.— John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) July 22, 2018
Gustafsson’s management released two statements to MMA Fighting, indicating that the Swede was due to fight Khalil Rountree prior to not being medically cleared to compete.
“Alex Gustafsson is out of UFC 227 with a minor injury. The injury occurred last week. Since that time, we have been working closely with the UFC doctors, our doctors in Sweden, and the experts at the UFC Performance Institute. We have been advised that Alex has a minor injury and he will not be permitted to compete at UFC 227. Had Alex been fit to fight, we were prepared to face Roundtree or anyone else the UFC had asked us; including DC Cormier at heavyweight.
Alex will be fighting again very soon. He will give his side of the story shortly. We don’t care who the opponent is. But whomever we face it should be for the meaningful result of the LHW UFC Title.”
Doctors pulled Alex from the card last Friday. Days before Anthony was to compete. Before that we were trying to stay on the card. Assuming we could get cleared, we were prepared to face anyone. We assumed it would be Rountree as he was ready fight, and we were told Jan [Blachowicz] would fight at another time. We also offered to fight DC at heavyweight if he was healthy. So Alex was prepared to face anyone, ranked or unranked. But the doctor’s said he was unfit to compete.
It was determined last Friday he would not be on the card. Days before the Smith contest.
Gustafsson has yet to return to the Octagon since a fifth-round KO of Glover Teixeira at UFC Stockholm in May 2017. He’s only fought twice since his title fight loss to light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in October 2015, with multiple injuries setting him back.
In case you’re wondering, this means that the #1 (Gustafsson),#2 (Volkan Oezdemir), and #4 (Ilir Latifi) ranked light heavyweights are all out with injury.