Alexander Gustafsson’s return UFC bout will be at heavyweight but he may not stay at that weight class.
Gustafsson is set to collide with former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum on July 25. The bout will be featured on a UFC Fight Night card on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. This will be Gustafsson’s first bout since June 2019. While “The Mauler” initially decided to retire, it ultimately turned out to be an extended break of sorts.
Alexander Gustafsson Might Not Stay At Heavyweight
MMA Viking spoke to Gustafsson a month before his showdown with Werdum. “The Mauler” made it clear that his move to heavyweight may not be a permanent one (h/t MMAJunkie).
“I’m taking one fight at a time,” Gustafsson told MMA Viking. “I’m fighting Fabricio now in heavyweight, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stay in heavyweight. We’re taking it one fight at a time and see what’s the next move.”
Gustafsson left the sport of MMA with a submission loss to Anthony Smith. He admitted that the love for MMA competition was starting to fade. It didn’t take long for “The Mauler” to get that itch back.
At his peak, Gustafsson gave Jon Jones the toughest fight of his pro MMA career. Some even felt Gustafsson deserved the nod in his first encounter with “Bones.” Their rematch in late 2018 was a different story. Jones took Gustafsson down and unleashed ground-and-pound for the third-round TKO finish.
When Gustafson shares the Octagon with Werdum, he faces a decorated heavyweight who is looking to avoid a third straight loss. “Vai Cavalo” has never lost three bouts in a row. Gustafsson is also trying to avoid the first three-fight skid of his pro MMA career.
Many feel this bout is a case of, “something has to give.” Gustafsson appeared to lose motivation the last time he was inside the Octagon. Werdum will be 43 years old in late July and is looking to prove he still has some fight left in him. The question is, will “The Mauler” reemerge, or will Werdum turn back the clock?