UFC light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson is on the mends following a torn meniscus injury, and hopes to get back in the cage soon to finally rematch UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
The Swedish fighter fought Jones at UFC 165 and gave the champion his toughest test to date. In fact, the fight was deemed an instant classic and Gustafsson was on the short road to rematch Jones. He then defeated Jimi Manuwa, and was then guaranteed a title shot against Jones which was set to take place at UFC 178 before Gustafsson suffered the meniscus injury.
Daniel Cormier agreed to step in and replace Gustafsson in the bout against Jones, however, that fight has now been pushed back to early 2015 with Jones suffering a knee injury of his own. Which means that Gustafsson will be out of action over a year if he is to wait to fight the winner of Jones vs. Cormier.
In the meantime, UFC light heavyweight Anthony Johnson has returned to the UFC and been on an absolute tear. Johnson knocked out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in his last matchup in July and dominated Phil Davis in the fight before than as a huge underdog. The same Phil Davis that gave Gustafsson one of his two career losses.
Johnson called out Gustaffson recently, however, Gustafsson doesn’t feel Johnson has earned the right to fight him at this point (transcription via MMAJunkie):
“Had that fight taken me somewhere I had been the first to accept,” he said. “Since (Johnson’s) return to the UFC after being kicked out, he has beaten Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who passed his expiration date a long time ago, and Phil Davis. He needs at least a couple (of more wins).”
Welp, guess who Gustafsson was originally slated to fight in March 2014 before he faced Jimi Manuwa? That’s right, Antonio Rogerio Noguiera who had to pull out of the bout with an injury.
Gustafsson has said that he has been promised a title shot by Lorenzo Fertitta, but Gustafsson should know by now that nothing is guaranteed unless it’s in a written contract.
Also, why would Gustafsson want to fight someone like Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier coming off a major injury and an extended time away from the cage? If he did become the champion he would have to fight someone like Anthony Johnson at some point anyways right?
At this point it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Gustafsson not to take the fight with Johnson in my opinion. Do you think Gustafsson is justified in waiting for a title shot, or is he simply ducking a fighter that’s destroying his opponents at this point in Anthony Johnson?