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Report: Alexander Gustafsson back at heavyweight, meets Ben Rothwell in May

It looks like Gustafsson’s return to the light heavyweight division isn’t going to happen after all.

Alexander Gustafsson’s MMA career has seemingly been in limbo for a while now. The once-retired, multiple-time light heavyweight title contender hasn’t set foot inside the Octagon since a first round loss to Fabricio Werdum back in July of 2020. That fight, meant to kick off a new heavyweight run for the Allstars Training Center athlete, nearly pushed him back to 205 lbs instead.

The ‘Mauler’ was all set to face Paul Craig in September of last year, but was forced out of that bout due to injury. Now it appears he’s ready to return to competition once again, and this time around he’ll be sticking to his new, heavier weight class.

That news comes via a report from Swedish MMA news site, who announced that Gustafsson has been booked to fight Ben Rothwell at a UFC Fight Night event on May 21st.

Rothwell is currently coming off a first round TKO loss to Marcos Rogerio de Lima at UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Rodriguez back in November of 2021. ‘Big’ Ben returned from three years on the sidelines in March of 2019. The 40-year-old has picked up three victories alongside four losses in the time since.

Still just 35-years-old, Gustafsson has competed only a handful of times since losing his 2015 light heavyweight title bout to Daniel Cormier. That run, of five fights over seven years, does include wins over recently crowned champions Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira, but the Swede is currently on a 3-fight losing skid—with defeats at the hands of Jon Jones, Anthony Smith, and the aforementioned Werdum bout.

The UFC has yet to make this booking official, or even announce a location for their May 21st fight card. A featherweight bout between Chase Hooper and Felipe Colares has also been scheduled for that date as well. No word yet on what fans might expect to serve as the card’s main event.