It’s one thing to lose.
It’s another to get destroyed in one of the biggest fights of your mixed martial arts (MMA) career in front of your friends, family, and entire country, an unenviable position Alexander Gustafsson found himself in when Anthony Johnson had him looking up at the lights last January on FOX.
It was so bad, “The Mauler” told Sarp Yesil at Expressen that it nearly forced him to retire.
“It has definitely been my most difficult period in life so far. I was completely serious about quitting MMA. I don’t care really about the title, it was that it happened in front of my home crowd. My cousins were in place. It just took it too hard. I didn’t have the will to continue. I was really close to quitting. But I have received so much love from fans, loved ones and my team. I had to bite the sour apple and now I have a new fight that made me very motivated. If I had not wanted to do this anymore, I would have stopped. But I want to continue. There is no doubt about it. No one is forcing me. I’m not doing this for money, but to be the best in the world.”
He’ll get that chance in just a few months.
Gustafsson has been signed to throw hands with fellow ex-division No. 1 contender Glover Teixeira at the upcoming UFC Fight Night 69 event, set for the O2 World Arena in Berlin, Germany (details). The winner will likely find themselves right back in the 205-pound title hunt.
The loser? Well, see above.