For many years, the Swede Alexander Gustafsson was ranked as the best light heavyweight in the world. Particularly impressive was Mauler's 2013 performance against Jon Jones. Alex then lost by unanimous decision but caused Jones huge problems and many still believe the Swede deserved to win that night.
Gustafsson had a few more great performances, like when he knocked out Glover Teixeira at a show in Stockholm. This happened in the middle of 2017, and it is a bit sad that this is also the last "Mauler's" victory.
A rematch against Jones followed, and Gus was also defeated by Anthony Smith and Fabricio Werdum. Gustafsson had long breaks between matches, and in mid-2020 in the aforementioned match against Werdum, he tried out in the heavyweight division.
The experiment did not go well, and 35-year-old Gus will return this year with performances in the light heavyweight category.
Gustafsson will perform at the London O2 Arena on July 23
His opponent will be Nikita Krylov. Gustaffson's victory would immediately place him among the top 15 fighters in the category, as Krylov is currently the 11th-ranked light heavyweight challenger.
The 30-year-old Ukrainian is in a series of two consecutive defeats (Ankalaev and Craig), and victory is a must for him. For Gustafsson, victory is also very important, and with another defeat, he could definitely withdraw from this sport.
There is no doubt that the Swede is motivated by the fact that Glover Teixeira reached the title of champion at the age of 42. Gustafsson even fought for the UFC light heavyweight title three times, but Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier were insurmountable obstacles.
"Mauler" had a scheduled clash with Ben Rothwell before arranging a fight against Krylov, and that match was to take place in nine days. Rothwell has left the UFC though and the match has been canceled, and it looks like Gustafsson is planning to embark on another quest for the light heavyweight title. We will find out at the end of the seventh month how much fire the once-great Gustafsson has in him.