Few fighters in the UFC light heavyweight division are as deserving of a crack at the championship as Alexander Gustafsson. The 14-1 Swede has emerged with his hand raised inside the Octagon on five consecutive occasions including dominant performances against Matt Hamill, Vladimir Matyushenko, and Thiago Silva. However, like the rest of his 205-pound peers, Gustafsson has taken a back seat to Chael Sonnen who essentially talked his way into a title-shot.
“I want to fight the champ after this fight. My focus is on ‘Shogun’, 100 percent, but when I win the fight I want to fight for the belt,” explained Gustafsson in an interview on UFC Ultimate Insider, saying he would even go so far as to start publicly lobbying for the opportunity if need be.
Of course, as Gustafsson also made clear, he already has a challenge on his hands to deal with before lending any significant energy towards his end goal of becoming champion. Rua is one of MMA’s legitimate legends and a former title-holder, not to mention an opponent Gustafsson has idolized for years.
“It’s a fight I’ve been looking forward to since I was young and started my career. It’s a good opportunity for me to show the world I belong with the top guys in my division,” said the 25-year old before going into how he expects the fight to unfold. “It will be a stand-up war. ‘Shogun’ is a very aggressive fighter and he hits very hard but he doesn’t have proper technique. I will be fast, I will keep my technique, keep my gameplan…I will stay on the outside, I will take my time.”
“If you go in to try to finish you will get finished yourself, so you have to stick to your gameplan and be adaptable in the fight…take initiative, focus on your gameplan, and the finish will come,” he concluded.
The complete interview with Gustafsson can be found below:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC