UFC Stockholm: Alexander Gustafsson’s Focused on Being a “Wrecking Machine”, Not Titles

It’s hard to deny that this Saturday’s bout between Anthony Smith and Alexander Gustafsson is a pivotal one for both light-heavyweights. But, according to “The Mauler”, he’s feeling extremely calm and relaxed as UFC Stockholm nears.

Gustafsson and Smith will both be competing for the first time since they incurred respective losses to the champ, Jon Jones. Gustafsson faced Jones in December and was stopped by the renowned fighter in round three. Smith, meanwhile, battled “Bones” this past March and lost the fight via unanimous decision.

Well, due to the timing of the bout, and because both men remain ranked in the top five (Gustafsson is #2 and Smith is #4), it’s a key fight for both fighters. But, since Gustafsson has lost twice to Jones now, one could argue there’s more on the line for him.

But, while speaking to MMA Junkie recently, the 32-year-old reported this:

“When I started this career, I just came in like a wrecking machine,” Gustafsson said. “I didn’t care about anything else. I didn’t care about the title. I didn’t care about whoever was in front of me. I didn’t care about where I was fighting, how many fights I had a year. I just went all in, and that’s what I’m getting back to, starting with Anthony Smith at the Globe.”

“…I feel super calm. I’ve got a great flow going now in my training. My conditioning is on top. I’m just feeling so relaxed. I’m ready for it. This is my reward. I don’t care about anything else. It’s just to be able to be in the octagon, fighting the guy in front of me, that is a reward for me – and just having fun doing it with a smile on my face.

“I’m just going to make sure I win every (expletive) round there is, just put a beating on him.”

You can understand where Gustafson is coming from really. If he loses, then yes, people will be asking questions about his future, especially since he himself noted that another loss could signal he’s no longer a top tier fighter. 

But, ever since Gustafsson lost a tightly contested decision to Jones in 2013, all he ever heard about was how a rematch with Jones would go. So, now the Swedish star doesn’t have to worry about that. Gustafsson will need to record several wins in a row before he gets tapped for another title shot, provided Jones retains the title.

So, it’s going to be really interesting to see how Saturday’s headliner goes. Based off both fighter’s styles, it’s hard to imagine the fight being a boring one.

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