Should Anthony Smith defeat Alexander Gustafsson June 1st at UFC Stockholm, that would be enough to reveal to Alexander Gustafsson that he is not the fighter that he once as. While that may sound harsh, Gustafsson has much respect for his next opponent and is well aware of what Smith brings to the table (transcript via MMA Fighting)
“He’s a big hitter and he has a lot of heart and he has a lot of fights behind him,” Gustafsson said Monday on The MMA Hour. “He’s a guy with a good team behind him, and this is going to be a real challenge. And that’s why I’m doing this, to challenge myself. When I beat him, I’m going to just move in the rankings. If I don’t beat him, if he beats me, then maybe I don’t have it anymore. So I’ll just take it from there.”
Alexander Gustafsson is also not blind to the parallels between himself and Anthony Smith, who both tried to hand Jon Jones his first non-DQ loss of his career to become champion and, given the recency of the bouts, will both be entering their fight in peak physical condition:
“He’s in shape and he feels like I feel,” Gustafsson said. “Like, he just lost and he wants to prove that he’s better than what he showed, and he just wants to get back to fighting and winning again. So I think he’s in shape and I think he’s ready for this, and he’s ready to fight me and he wants to beat me, so I understand him perfectly.”
And as for that common opponent guy, Gustafsson feels he has no place to judge Anthony Smith for his performance at UFC 235:
“I’m not the right guy to judge him,” added Gustafsson. “I just fought Jon and lost myself. He showed some heart and he took some damage and just kept moving, so he’s a warrior and I can’t wait to have him over and give the fans a really good show.”
Do you agree with Alexander Gustafsson? If he loses to Anthony Smith would that make him a hasbeen?