Alexander Gustafsson appeared to be edging out his fight with Anthony Smith last night at UFC Fight Night 153 until the fourth round when ‘Lioneheart’ got him down, took his back and applied a rear-naked choke finish.
Gustafsson took the defeat hard and during his post-fight interview in the Octagon he announced that he’d decided it was time to retire from the sport at just 32-years-of-age.
“The show is over guys,” Gustafsson told his hometown fans in Stockholm, Sweden, before laying down his gloves on the Octagon, a symbolic gesture for retirement.
During his interview backstage after the event, Gustafsson confirmed it wasn’t just a kneejerk reaction and that he did feel that now was the right time to call time on his career.
“I’m feeling that it’s pretty much a done deal,” Gustafsson told the assembled media. “If you don’t feel you have it in you anymore then it is what it is. I had three title fights and, like I said, it’s been a great journey. This is it.
“I feel like I don’t do this for money or because of anything else. I do this because I want to be the best and beat the best and if I can’t do that then it is what it is. I lost to Jon and that was the third title fight and I felt like because I got a little bit of an injury in that fight and I didn’t get to show my capacity.
“So I had some hope in me still and I felt this Anthony Smith fight would be a great comeback and start climbing again. But now I lose to Anthony too. It feels like I don’t have it in me anymore. It’s like a confirmation to myself because I lost my three title fights.”
If this is to be Gustafsson’s last fight then he’ll leave with an overall 18-6 career record, having defeated the likes of Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, Glover Teixeira, Jimi Manuwa, Thiago Silva and Jan Blachowicz along the way, while also giving the likes of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier some of the toughest fights of their UFC runs.