Two of Alexander Gustafsson’s biggest opponents, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier have both paid tribute to the Swedish star after he announced his retirement following a submission loss to Anthony Smith on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 153.
“Honestly I don’t believe you but if you’re serious, thank you for everything,” the light-heavyweight champion Jones wrote to Gustafsson, who he faced twice in his career. “You held the division to a standard and made us better. Go kick ass with that Family.”
As with Jones, Gustafsson also gave Cormier a very hard title fight and it clearly made a lasting impression on the current heavyweight champion.
“Alex, you will forever be one of the biggest players in my journey,” Cormier told Cormier on Instagram. “We’ve agreed, we have argued and bickered, but ultimately you made me better. You made the sport better. You are a warrior and will be truly missed! I understand the motivation changes and for you it is now your family. I say now you’re starting to really live the good life. Congrats on a great career my man! You’re a hammer! see you around @alexthemauler #themauler #ufc192 #AG #sweden.”
Gustafsson has questioned his motivation and talked about the possibility of retiring, so it wasn’t a complete surprise that he left his gloves in the Octagon on Saturday night in from of his home fans in Sweden, though given that he’s still only 32-years-old it’s certainly not out of the realms of possibility that he may one day rediscover the urge to compete.