Opinion: Alexander Gustafsson Should Have Earned Your Respect
By Michael Hatamoto
If you didn’t believe in him prior to UFC 165, Swedish light-heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson gave UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones all he could handle over 25 minutes.
Jones was rightfully the pre-fight favorite among MMA fans and Las Vegas odds makers, but Gustafsson came into the fight ready for anything. In fact, Gustafsson was able to take Jones down, and stopped 10 of 11 takedown attempts throughout the five-round fight.
Gustafsson didn’t leave the UFC octagon last night as champion, but he still has a lot to be proud of following his performance. MMA journalists (myself included!) and casual fans believed it would be Jones that ended the fight by KO, TKO, or submission. Instead, Gustafsson was able to withstand Jones’ best strikes, and dish out some pain against the champion, making him finally look uncomfortable inside the cage.
I was impressed that Jones used his boxing, kicks, knees and elbows to keep Gustafsson guessing – and Gustafsson was able to absorb so many shots.
Gustafsson hopes for an immediate rematch against Jones, especially with the UFC marketing machine able to promote a second fight to a new level.
Here is what UFC President Dana White said following UFC 165:
“Yeah, there’s a real good possibility we could do this again. We would give Glover (Teixeira) another fight. I like the idea. I think that fight was awesome. I think that this is one of those fights that people would love to see again. It would be hard for either one of the fighters not to think that they both should rematch.”
I would rather see Jones fight Glover Teixeira while Gustafsson needs one bounce-back win, but I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to an immediate rematch.