Alexander Gustafsson waited years to have another crack at Jon Jones after taking Jones to his limit in their initial 2013 encounter at UFC 165. After coming up short in that fight, Gustafsson vowed their rematch at UFC 232 would be different. It was different. It was much less competitive and there was a clear and decisive finish when Jon Jones stopped Gustafsson in the third round. Five months later, Alexander Gustafsson reflects on what contributed to the loss (transcript via MMA Fighting):
“It was a really bad performance that I did, and I just, I wasn’t myself really,” Gustafsson said recently on The MMA Hour while reflecting on UFC 232. “I just went in there and I tried to stick to the gameplan and everything, but no, he just found a way very early to neutralize my game and he put me away strong.”
Jon Jones connected with an illegal knee to Gustafsson’s groin in the very first round, and it would appear that this is what Gustafsson is referring to when he says Jon Jones “found a way very early to neutralize” his game, as the Swede claims he was never the same after the unfortunate strike:
“I just didn’t perform like I used to,” Gustafsson said. “I didn’t have the footwork going. And I have no excuses, it’s not that. It’s just like, after when he got me with that knee, I couldn’t really find the rhythm again. I just, I couldn’t move like I did before. I just had a lot of pain after that, and I’ve never had that type of pain in my career before in a fight. Of course, you have pain, you get shots from everywhere and you get back, you just keep pushing. But he just stopped me right there, and I tried to move, work it with my footwork, try to kick him or attack, be explosive. But none of that worked. I just couldn’t with my groin.
“And with that said, I don’t use this as an excuse or anything like that”
Gustafsson continued. “He did what he had to do to beat me, and Jon is the best guy out there, so I don’t feel like I’m thinking about that loss nowadays. It is what it is and I just move forward now.”
Alexander Gustafsson will be moving forward this Saturday when he takes on Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC Stockholm this Saturday, June 1.
What are your thoughts on Alexander Gustafsson’s breakdown of why he lost to Jon Jones at UFC 232?