UFC officials announced the bout on Wednesday, making it only the second event in the promotion’s history to be held in a stadium. The Tele2 Arena is an all-purpose stadium with a retractable roof that seats 30,000 spectators.
The fight between Gustafsson and Johnson has been several months in the making. The bout was initially sidelined when Johnson was suspended by the UFC pending an internal investigation into and the eventual outcome of a legal matter.
While the case was unfolding, the UFC shifted to a possible bout between Gustafsson and Rashad Evans. Evans, however, wasn’t quite ready to commit, as he is still recovering from a lingering knee injury.
The legal case against Johnson was recently dropped, freeing him to get back in the fight with Gustafsson.
In announcing the bout, UFC officials declared that the fight would be for a shot at the light heavyweight championship, currently wrapped around Jon Jones’ waist. Jones has a fight just weeks before the Gustafsson vs. Johnson bout, however, as he faces Daniel Cormier in the UFC 182 main event on Jan. 3 in Las Vegas.
Gustafsson narrowly lost his title bid to Jones last year in September. He bounced back with an impressive knockout of the then-undefeated Jimi Manuwa earlier this year.
“This is going to be an epic event,” Gustafsson said. “I want more than 30,000 fans to come and witness me win on January 24. Then I’m going to go and get the title! My journey back to the top starts now. ”
Johnson has won eight consecutive bouts, six of them by knockout. He holds back-to-back victories over Phil Davis and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira since returning to the UFC in April.
“This fight might be on his home turf, but I’m ready to go over to Sweden and prove that I’m the next in the line for the UFC light heavyweight title,” Johnson said. “I’m not intimidated by fighting in front of Alex’s hometown fans. I’m going to go in there and look for the knockout like I do in all of my fights. I can’t wait for this!”
The main card will air live on FOX and the prelims on FOX Sports 1 in the United States.