With a title shot looming over his head if he wins on Saturday, Alexander Gustafsson predicts that he’ll end Jimi Manuwa’s unbeaten streak. But he knows it won’t be easy.
“I’m prepared for the best Jimi Manuwa. Whatever he throws at me on Saturday night, I’m going to have an answer for it. It’s going to be a great fight, a great fight for the fans,” the 27-year-old recently told UFC.com.
Manuwa (14-0) is known for his striking ability. He has finished every opponent he’s faced. Gustafsson has done his homework and believes he’s prepared for whatever Manuwa brings.
“He’s a very dangerous guy, first of all. He’s very explosive with very good striking techniques. He’s a hard hitter with heavy hands and kicks. Of course he’s very dangerous on his feet,” said Gustafsson. “He has one gear. He doesn’t change. He’ll always go hard whatever he throws. He’s a very dangerous guy, and he’s unbeaten. He has a lot of self-confidence coming into this fight. He’s hungry, so I have to be on my toes.”
Gustafsson will enjoy a reach advantage, but his biggest advantage may be his wrestling. He’s the only fighter that has ever been able to take down light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
“A fight is a fight. I have to be flexible. I have to know the situations. Wherever the fight ends up, I’ll go from there. I’ll be ready for anything,” he said. “He has good wrestling, good striking. He’s a good fighter.”
If Gustafsson wins, and Jones defeats Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 on April 26, the two will rematch. A win for Manuwa will put him squarely in contender status.
“He wants what I have,” said Gustafsson, who predicts he’ll finish Manuwa inside of two rounds.
“I want this more than he wants it. I want the belt again. I want that title shot. And I’m tired of going the distance, so I will finish him,” said the Swede.