“If it comes to a title shot or fighting Jon Jones one day if he’s still the champ, I will be ready for it.”
Alexander Gustafsson is a confident 25-year-old fighter that has been steadily working his way up the UFC light heavyweight ladder. With a 14-1 overall professional record and winning his last five fights in the Octagon, including victories over Thiago Silva and Vladimir Matyushenko, that confidence is earned.
Although Gustafsson has confidence that he is a deserving challenger to current champion Jon Jones, that doesn’t mean he’s looking past the next obstacle in his path to the title.
Gustafsson squares off with former Pride and UFC champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC on Fox 5 on Dec. 8 in Seattle.
Despite knowing he’s got the skills to challenge a fighter like Jones, the young Swede knows he has first to topple one of MMA’s greats in Shogun.
Considering Jones destroyed Shogun to win the UFC light heavyweight title in early 2011, it’s no surprise then that Gustafsson carries the same confidence he would into a Jones fight into the pending battle with Shogun.
“It would be a stand-up war (with Shogun),” Gustafsson declared in a recent interview with Fuel TV.
“Shogun is a very aggressive fighter and hits very hard, but he doesn’t have proper technique. I will be fast, keep my technique, keep my gameplan, and I will stay on the outside. I will take my time.”
Shogun, however, is nothing if not a durable fighter; that’s something he proved in his 2011 Fight of the Year performance against Dan Henderson.
Gustafsson still believes, though, that he will wear the Brazilian down and come out the victor at UFC on Fox 5. And then… and then his focus will shift away from the former UFC and Pride champion onto the current UFC champion.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” Gustafsson stated when asked if a win over Shogun would lead to him “barking” for a title shot.
“I wanna fight the champ after this fight. My focus is on Shogun, 100 percent, but when I win the fight, I wanna fight for the belt.”
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