Lots of folks seemed to be caught off guard when Dana White announced the UFC is looking at Alexander Gustafsson for a title shot, and it sounds like “The Mauler” was also a wee bit surprised…
If you’ve been keeping tabs on good ole MMA in recent weeks, then you know that Daniel Cormier and Ryan Bader have been going at it through the media. In addition, following Cormier’s championship win at UFC 187, he and Bader had a headline grabbing exchange at the post-fight press conference. Since Bader has won four in a row, and has a nice rivalry with Cormier going, many concluded (including this guy) that the light-heavyweight would challenge “DC” next.
“I haven’t actually even been thinking that much about the belt,” said Gustafsson. “I haven’t seen myself in that position, really, because of my loss. But here I am now and I’m very thankful. I’m so happy and very excited. I can’t wish for more.
“I believe that the UFC wants to see me against DC. That’s so simple. They really want to see us fight. Also, a good job from my managers, too. They’ve been working hard for this opportunity and I’m very thankful for this so I can’t wait.”
While Bader and his fans likely aren’t too happy about this, and purists will point out Gustafsson is coming off a loss (to Anthony Johnson), it’s not that shocking really. Gustafsson was supposed to rematch Jon Jones last year, but had to withdraw due to injury. Jones-Gustafsson was a fight a ton of people wanted to see, since the latter provided the now former champ his biggest test to date.
So sure, giving a guy a title shot after a loss doesn’t sit well with some, but Cormier was handed one right?
Gustafsson also relayed in the interview that he’d like if the bout takes place after summer. The Swedish star was supposed to fight Glover Teixeira this month, but had to withdraw due to injury.