Alexander Gustafsson is officially calling it a career.
On Saturday in Sweden, the three-time UFC title contender laid down his gloves and announced his retirement following a fourth round submission loss to Anthony Smith in the main event.
While the loss was certainly disappointing it was still a shock for Gustafsson to declare that he was finished with fighting. Even after the emotion of that moment wore off, Gustafsson confirmed his retirement while explaining why he’s walking away from the sport right now.
“Yeah I am. I’m done,” Gustafsson told the UFC Fight Night post fight show. “It feels like I don’t have it in me anymore to be honest. I did a mistake that I shouldn’t do and I just have a feeling it’s the time now.
“I don’t want to be a journeyman. I don’t want to do this just because I’m getting paid. I just want to do this because I love it and I want to be at the top.”
Gustafsson made no excuses for his defeat while adding that he had a tremendous training camp to prepare for Smith before stepping into the Octagon on Saturday.
Unfortunately he came up short and decided now was the time to retire from fighting.
“I’m disappointed with the outcome of the fight,” Gustafsson said. “I was ready for this. I’ve been training hard and I was just ready. I was in my zone and it felt good. I don’t do this for the money or anything. I do this because I want to be the best and beat the best so if I can’t do that, it is what it is.”
Gustafsson, who came up short in three attempts to become UFC light heavyweight champion, says that the fight with Smith was supposed to serve as the starting point to regain his momentum in the division after falling to Jon Jones last December.
The loss to Smith was a devastating setback and Gustafsson just didn’t see a reason to continue if he wasn’t going to be building back towards title contention again.
“I lost my third title fight. It’s the top guys, I thought I can rebuild that. I can start with Smith and take it from there but well I lost this time, too,” Gustafsson said. “It is what it is.
“I had a great journey. I have everything in my life because of this sport, because of the UFC and I’m thankful and it’s been a great journey.”
As far as what comes next, the 32-year-old veteran is looking forward to some much needed family time while he continues to build the sport in his native Sweden.
He may be gone from competing in the UFC but Gustafsson will always be a presence in the fight game after dedicating his life to martial arts.
“I’m just going to spend time with my kids. I own the gym I train in and I’ve got some projects going on here. Let’s see what the next chapter will be,” Gustafsson said.
“I’m very grateful for my career as a fighter and being able to fight for the UFC for so long.”