Anybody that questioned Alexander Gustafsson’s status as a contender in the UFC’s light heavyweight division will never do so again after UFC 165 Saturday night.
For five rounds, Gustafsson went toe-to-toe, punch-for-punch, kick-for-kick and takedown-for-takedown with the fighter many call the best today and maybe ever, Jon Jones.
While Gustafsson didn’t get his hand raised in the end, he raised his stock in terms of the overall MMA landscape and proved his abilities.
I may have said takedown-for-takedown earlier, and that should be corrected. Gustafsson out-wrestled Jones.
Yes, the man who had yet to be taken down inside the Octagon was put on his back a number of times.
Credit Phil Davis, the only other fighter to defeat Gustafsson for that, as the two have been working hard in California at improving “The Mauler’s” wrestling skills.
Whether you scored the fight for Gustafsson or for Jones, we all were winners in the end – and the UFC was an even bigger winner.
Now, already a top name in Europe, Gustafsson’s stock has never been higher. Here’s a fighter, as young as Jones and not yet even in his fighting prime, that can be pushed to the limits.
Gustafsson stood and matched everything Jones tossed at him, even throwing his own spinning strikes late in the fight when it looked like he had nothing left.
Alexander Gustafsson is going to be a force to be reckon with in the future. If you don’t believe me, just ask Jon Jones.