UFC 232: Daniel Cormier Argues Alexander Gustafsson Struggles in “Big Moments”; is he Right?

Alexander Gustafsson has been involved in many, pivotal bouts during his UFC run, but according to Daniel Cormier, “The Mauler” has struggled in “big moments”. Is the champ-champ right?

Recently the UFC confirmed that Gustafsson will face Jon Jones for a second time, on December 29th at UFC 232. The bout will be for the light-heavyweight title, because as soon as it begins, Cormier will be stripped of the 205 belt.

The fight will mark the second time Jones and Gustafsson have fought. Back in 2013, the two battled at UFC 165, and Jones extended his reign as champ, via a unanimous decision win. The bout was extremely competitive, however, and still to this day, is widely viewed as one of the greatest championship fights in UFC history.

Well, recently Cormier was a guest on “The MMA Hour”, and he was asked for his take on what will happen in Jones – Gustafsson 2. Here is some of what “DC” had to say (quote via MMA Fighting):

“I think Jones wins the fight,” Cormier said. “I’ve never once shied away from the fact that he’s a fantastic fighter. He’s a really talented guy. And it seems, I mean, obviously he can go with me and keep up with me, so he obviously has been putting in a lot of hard work, so he must be a hard worker in that sense. And I know that Alex, for as good as he is, too, because he’s a good fighter, the only thing with Alex is he’s struggled in those big moments and this is a really, really big moment, and he’s going to have to fight to his level or above his level to try and win. The major issue is that Jones … he fought, I think, maybe more recently than Gustafsson did. That’s a crazy factor.”

Now, since Jones won the first encounter, and because he’s one of the most talented fighters of all time, if not the most talented, lots of folks believe Jones will win the rematch. But, has Gustafsson struggled to perform at his best? In big fights?

That likely depends on how you view “struggled”. The only people who have defeated Gustafsson since 2010 are Jones, Cormier and Anthony Johnson. While yes, Gustafsson failed to win the light-heavyweight title in his fights with Cormier and Jones, both bouts were extremely competitive. The loss to Cormier was via split decision.

So, Gustafsson supporters would likely argue those performances are not indicative of someone struggling, since he lost to two of the best fighters of all time. If just winning and losing is the criteria, however, then yes, you could say he struggled.

Gustafsson was quickly taken out by Johnson when the fought at UFC on FOX 14, in an event that was placed in “The Mauler’s” native Sweden. There’s no question that Johnson was a ridiculously dangerous fighter, but that performance was a serious letdown for Gustafsson, and one could question whether the magnitude of the situation got to him.

Cormier, meanwhile, will take on Derrick Lewis next Saturday at UFC 230.

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