Following Alexander Gustafsson’s loss at UFC Stockholm and his retirement announcement, some observers believe the Swedish star didn’t completely close the door on a comeback. But, if you take a broader look at what Gustafsson said yesterday, and in recent weeks, it really does seem like this is it.
As you’ve surely heard and or saw, Gustafsson was submitted by Anthony Smith in the fourth round of Saturday’s main event. After the fight, which was a very competitive affair, Gustafsson announced the “show is over” and left his gloves in the cage. Then, during the post-fight presser, the 32-year-old, perennial contender said this (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I’m feeling that it’s pretty much a done deal,” Gustafsson said. “If you don’t feel you have it in you anymore then it is what it is. I had three title fights and, like I said, it’s been a great journey. This is it.”
“I feel like I don’t do this for money or because of anything else,” Gustafsson added. “I do this because I want to be the best and beat the best and if I can’t do that then it is what it is. I lost to Jon and that was the third title fight and I felt like because I got a little bit of an injury in that fight and I didn’t get to show my capacity. So I had some hope in me still and I felt this Anthony Smith fight would be a great comeback and start climbing again. But now I lose to Anthony too. It feels like I don’t have it in me anymore. It’s like a confirmation to myself because I lost my three title fights.”
“…I am living a life today that I am very pleased with and happy with because of the UFC and the sport. I had two really good wins here in the Globe, which I will have with the rest of my life. It’s been a great journey.”
Now, some people are pointing to the “pretty much a done deal” comment, as an indication that Gustafsson may not be entirely certain he’s finished. While it’s possible that in the coming weeks or months, Gustafsson could change his mind, that would be pretty surprising.
“The Mauler” noted that he doesn’t need to fight for money, he operates his own gym, and Gustafsson would need to win several key fights before returning to title shot contention. Gustafsson has repeatedly said that he fights to be the best, not just for the love of fighting. Further, it’s worth noting that a few weeks ago, Gustafsson stated that a loss to Smith could indicate that he’s no longer a top tier fighter. So, it does seem like he’s been thinking about life after fighting for a little while now.
All this aside, there’s no denying that Gustafsson had an amazing career. Although he never won the UFC’s 205 title, he remained at the top of the division for approximately seven years. How many people on this planet can say that?