Heading into last weekend's title fight between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, few people were giving the Swedish challenger much of a shot to dethrone the long-reigning 205-pound king. Once the dust settled after their five-round battle though, no one doubted The Mauler's right to share cage space with the champ.
Gustafsson gave Jones his toughest fight to date and many observers felt that the challenger deserved the win. In the end though, Jones got the judges' nod. Rather than walk away bitter from a razor thin decision loss, Gustafsson asserts that he learned an invaluable lesson from the fight and vows to return better than ever as a result.
"It's hard to say," Gustafsson said at the UFC 165 post-fight show when asked if he felt he deserved the win. "I don't know. I learned a lot from this fight. He's the champ. To take the belt from the champ you have to finish him. The biggest lesson is I have to push the pace harder. I just did what I thought I could do and it wasn't enough. I will come back stronger and better. I'm disappointed, but I'm very proud of what I did and my team."
With how close the fight was, fans immediately began clamoring for a rematch. For his part, Gustafsson is more than willing to go another five rounds with the champ to put the lessons he learned to the test.
"Absolutely," he said when asked about facing Jones again. "I want a rematch right away. But it's up to the UFC. It's an honor to fight Jon."
Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.