Whether he liked it or not, the word from UFC President Dana White last week appeared to be that Alexander Gustafsson would have to take on another fight before getting another title shot, and so rather than be forced into it, the Swedish fighter appears to have opted to embrace his fate.
The fact that the man White suggested he should fight next, Anthony ‘Rumble Johnson, has also been giving him a hard time on twitter, questioning how long he was going to “sit out” and “hide” from him may also have helped him reach the decision.
“Anthony Johnson, there is no one hiding from anyone here,” Gustafsson wrote on Mikz. “We are both professional fighters and fighting is what we do for living. I know it is frustrating not getting response when you are challenging someone, therefore, I will not turn you down. I will be fully recovered within a couple of weeks so anytime in January and forward I will be ready to fight you.
“Now it is up to the UFC to put this fight together. I can’t wait to sign the bout agreement my friend and show you what Battlefield feels like.”
Gustafsson had initially been dismissive of ‘Rumble’ as an opponent, suggesting that he needed a few more wins before he was ready to face him.
Others, including White, appear to disagree though with Johnson having impressed since reinventing himself as a light-heavyweight, producing big wins over respected opponents in Phil Davis and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to mark his return to the UFC earlier in the year.
Two pay-per-view events are currently scheduled for the first month of 2015 and the most obvious option would be to have Gustafsson Vs Johnson fight on the co-main event of UFC 182 on January 3rd in Las Vegas since it’s conveniently headlined by the 205lb title clash between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.
A win for Gustafsson would guarantee him the next shot at the winner of the event’s headliner, while a big victory for the 5th ranked ‘Rumble’ could also be enough to propel him to a fight for the title.