They’re both tall, lanky fighters that surprise others with their strength and creative energy in the Octagon. Both are young and rocketed through most of their competition.
But for all their similarities, the recent talk propelling Gustafsson into the title picture with Jones may be jumping the gun just a bit. The 25-year-old Swede may soon fight his way into the Octagon across from his American counterpart, but make no bones about it, he’s not there just yet… and he knows it.
“I just want to fight the top five guys in my division and when a title shot comes, I will be more than ready,” said Gustafsson at the UFC on Fuel TV 2 post-fight press conference in Stockholm on Saturday night.
Gustafsson is appreciative of the comparisons, calling it “great feedback,” but he’s not throwing himself into a title fight before it is warranted.
It’s not that he isn’t close, particularly after going three rounds with a very tough Thiago Silva, walking away with the unanimous nod from the judges in Sweden.
He’s slipped up only once in his 15-fight career, losing to Phil Davis at UFC 112 in 2010. That was really a turning point for Gustafsson, however.
Realizing the holes in his game, he started training with Phil Davis at Alliance MMA in Southern California. He has since won five consecutive bouts, including Silva, Vladimir Matyushenko, and Matt Hamill. All are great fighters, but now Gustafsson needs to prove himself against the best fighters to prove that he should be mentioned alongside Jones.
“It’s a little early,” said UFC president Dana White about the comparisons to Jon Jones.
“Tonight was a big fight for him. It was a big first step. I think that now he needs to start fighting some of the guys in the top five and we’ll see if he fights his way up to a title shot.”