The UFC have announced that light-heavyweight No.1 contender Alexander Gustafsson willl fight Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC On FOX 14 on January 24th.
Gustafsson had originally been hoping for a title shot, but he may have been appeased by the fact that not only be fighting Johnson in his native Sweden, but it’ll also be taking place in Stockholm’s 30,000 seater stadium, the Tele2Arena.
“This is going to be an epic event,” an excited Gustafsson said in a statement. “I want more than 30,000 fans to come and witness me win on Jan. 24. Then I’m going to go and get the title. My journey back to the top starts now.”
Meanwhile Johnson is undeterred by the daunting prospect of fighting in hostile territory.
“This fight might be on his home turf, but I’m ready to go over to Sweden and prove that I’m the next in the line for the UFC light heavyweight title,” Johnson said. “I’m not intimidated by fighting in front of Alex’s hometown fans. I’m going to go in there and look for the knockout like I do in all of my fights. I can’t wait for this.”
There had been talk of a potential match-up between these two top 5 contenders a few months ago, but then Johnson became embroiled in a civil lawsuit relating to an ex-girlfriend that led to him being indefinitely suspended by the UFC.
In the mean time Gustafsson was then linked to a fight with Rashad Evans, but with the former light-heavyweight champion still trying to get back to full fitness after knee surgery the timing wasn’t working out.
Luckily, Johnson’s legal issues then evaporated after a judge dismissed his case which paved the way for this fight to take place.
Gustafsson last fought in March, picking up a TKO victory over Jimi Manuwa, while Johnson made his way back to the UFC a month after that and has compiled two wins in a row against Phil Davis and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira which has left him poised at No.3 in the divisional rankings.
Given their current standings the winner of this fight is almost certain to be handed a title shot against the winner of the light-heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier which is also set to take place in January at UFC 182.