At 37 years old, Alexander Gustafsson has this physical status:
Alexander Lars-ke Gustafsson (born 15 January 1987) is a Swedish retired mixed martial artist.
He is best known for his participation in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he competed in the light heavyweight division.
In the post fight interview, he revealed his withdrawal from the sport after losing to Anthony Smith at UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Smith.
He currently ranks #7 in the UFC light heavyweight rankings as of November 04, 2019.
Gustafsson began a relationship with his then-girlfriend, Moa, in 2015. Ava, the couple's daughter, was born in May 2017. In May 2017, the couple became involved in the octagon right after Gustafsson defeated Teixeira in Stockholm, Sweden, right after Gustafsson defeated Teixeira. A son was born in September 2018.
He grew up in Arboga, a small town about 1+12 hours west of Stockholm, with his mother, step-father, and four younger siblings. In interviews, his mother has said that she named him after Alexander the Great. He had a close relationship with his biological father, who lived in another city and was struggling with alcohol use. His biological father died a few weeks before Gustafsson's brawl in London against Jimi Manuwa on March 8, 2014. In interviews after the war, he said he wanted to dedicate the victory to him.
He was nicknamed "The Mauler" early in his career by his training partners, referring to his quick strike, killer instincts, and the reckless way he fights.
When asked about his heroes in combat sports, Gustafsson cites MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko as his first inspiration for the sport.
Gustafsson is a Christian, and he had a close personal relationship with his pastor, Wiggo Carlsson, from his inception in 2012 until his death in 2012.
Badou Jack's longtime buddy and occasional sparring partner. Both of them being from a boxing background, their paths crossed in Stockholm's amateur boxing scene in 2007. He has often compared Swedish Heavyweight boxer Ingemar Johansson, who won the world championship in 1959, both before and after his championship fight at UFC 165, stressing both similarities and differences in their respective combat styles.
Gustafsson had a turbulent youth, resulting in him being arrested more often as an adult, for which he was first arrested when he was 15 years old. After a night of inebriation, as an 18-year-old man, he was sentenced to prison for aggravated assault, having assaulted a brother and sister unprovoked together with two accomplices. He was released in 2006, turned his life around, resumed education, discovered MMA, and moved to another place to escape the chaos behind him. He has said that being involved in MMA changed his life for the better.
Gustafsson had worked in other professions before beginning to fight his career. He was both a construction worker and a bouncer in night clubs, as well as security. He also had a license to work as a divemaster for scuba diving. It came after he saw Phil Davis, who left his regular life to dedicate fully to MMA.
Gustafsson appeared in Johan Falk – Blood Diamonds, a Swedish mainstream film that premiered in 2015.
Gustafsson, the AK Fighting Championship's founder, is a sponsor of the Swedish mixed martial arts festival. In 2021, the Allstar Training Center, of which Gustafsson is a co-owner, is expanding and opening a second training location, this time in Torrevieja, Spain.
Mixed martial arts career
Gustafsson started training MMA in 2006, but before that, he began working in boxing, which he started when he was ten years old. In 2003, he won the national championship (youth-junior level) for the 16th time. He returned to boxing in 2008-2009, winning several amateur tournaments in Sweden and defeating the Swedish heavyweight boxing champion in an amateur competition. He was due to win the national championship tournament the following year, 2010, which he was a strong favorite to win. However, his newly resurgent boxing career came to an end when he signed with the United Football in September 2009.
Gustafsson competed in the martial arts style of shooting, before beginning his professional MMA career with a score of 5–1, with 4 wins by KO/TKO and 1 by decision. He lost by split decision against Mats Nilsson in the Kaisho Battle 2007 tournament. He competed in a smaller amount of submission wrestling and submission grappling tournaments, in which he was also undefeated. Gustafsson competed in smaller leagues in Sweden and other areas of Europe before signing with the United FC. He had a flawless pro-record of 8-0 by 2009, with six wins coming by way of KO/TKO, one by submission and one by decision.
Florian Muller, a German prospect who was defeated by TKO in the second round on March 13, 2008, was one of the most notable victories in his first eight fights.
Florian Muller, a top prospect in Poland at the time, was replaced later this year by having another TKO win over Matteo Minonzio. He defeated Kulak multiple times and gained the unanimous decision victory.
Gustafsson defeated European veteran Vladimir Shemarov at Superior Challenge 3, his last combat before being signed to the United FC. He won the first round by being knocked out.
Gustafsson made his UFC debut against Jared Hamman on November 14, 2009, at UFC 105. Gustafsson beat Hamman with a straight right punch and dominated the first round by KO at 0:41.
Gustafsson's next fight was against Phil Davis on April 10, 2010, at UFC 112. Gustafsson lost the battle by submission due to an anaconda choke. Gustafsson had a good wrestling and takedown defense before this match, which Joe Rogan lauded. Gustafsson was sprawled by Davis and was forced to tap out at 4:55 of the first round after being helped by bruising elbows.
At UFC 120, Gustafsson met MMA and kickboxing veteran Cyrille Diabaté. Gustafsson travelled to San Diego, California, to train with Alliance MMA for a month in advance of this fight. Gustafsson trained with top UFC stars like Phil Davis, Dominick Cruz, Brandon Vera, Joey Beltran, and Travis Browne at the training camp. He continued to seek advice from Davis and continued to develop his endurance and speed. Gustafsson defeated Diabate by submission in the second round after dominating the first round in standing up and on the ground, dropping Diabate twice. Gustafsson said in post-fight interviews that the primary reason for his victory over Diabate was the time he spent at Alliance MMA in the training camp.
Gustafsson won his second straight UFC fight in February 2011, at UFC 127, where he defeated James Te-Huna in the first round by submission due to a rear-naked choke.
On August 6, 2011, Gustafsson was supposed to face Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC 133. Matyushenko had to withdraw due to injuries and was replaced by Matt Hamill. Gustafsson defeated Hamill by a single punch followed by two uppercuts, bringing TKO to a halt in the 2nd round, with punches and elbows from the mount. Hamill resigned shortly after the war ended, and he resigned shortly afterwards.
Gustafsson won a match against Matyushenko on December 30, 2011 at UFC 141. After dropping Matyushenko by a jab and ending with punches on the ground, he defeated him by TKO in the first round. After winning, UFC President Dana White said Matyushenko, who referred to himself as a gatekeeper at the time, made it clear that Gustafsson was a power to be reckoned with and that he'd be able to move forward in opposition for his next fight.
Gustafsson had intended to face Antônio Rogério Nogério Nogério Nogueira on April 14th, 2012, but No. 2 was able to fight due to a niotal injury, and Thiago Silva had to step in. Gustafsson was able to effectively use his reach and jab to put together a few points against Silva, both for knocking him down early in the first round and scoring a takedown in the second. His stellar play earned him the unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 29–28) victory. Gustafsson was in need of another boost in action after his win, and UFC President Dana White said it will be fighting someone in the top of the charts.
On December 8, 2012, Gustafsson faced Mauro Rua at UFC on Fox 5. He was able to beat Rua by unanimous vote (30–27, 30–27, and 30–26). Gustafsson would have a shot at the championship in his next fight, according to Gustafsson, who did not want to sit out of action for a long time to wait for his chance.
Gustafsson was supposed to face former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi on April 6, 2013, at UFC on Fuel TV 9, and it was announced that winning would guarantee him a shot at the championship. However, Gustafsson had been cut during a sparring session on March 30th. The Swedish MMA Federation revealed on April 2nd that he was not eligible to compete. Gustafsson was promoted by UFC newcomer Ilir Latifi, one of his key training partners, replacing him.
In the main event at UFC 165, Gustafsson earned a title shot and met UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones on September 21, 2013. Despite being thought of a major underdog going into the fight, Gustafsson put Jones down for the first time in his career, choking him apart on the feet and cutting Jones sharply above the right eye early in the game. Jones later regained control of the final rounds, winning 138-114, while Gustafsson advanced to strikes in the end. Gustafsson was eventually disqualified by a majority decision. Gustafsson had his hardest fight of his career, according to Jones after the fight before being taken to hospital. Both Gustafsson and Jones received the "Fight of the Night" bonus for their appearances. Mixed martial arts media outlets and fighters praised the match, with some claiming it to be the best light heavyweight championship fight of all time. World MMA Awards named 2013 Fight of the Year later this year, as well as various other top MMA media outlets, Gustafsson also won the 2013 International Fighter of the Year award. On March 8, 2020, it was announced that the fight would be inducted into the Fight Wing of the United FC Hall of Fame.
Dana White had predicted that he was interested in a rematch between Jones and Gustafsson but did not confirm anything. After it was announced that Jones would be fighting his belt against Glover Teixeira, Gustafsson did not get the match. Gustafsson's next opponent was yet to be confirmed, according to reports, but that the match would take place in Sweden or England in early 2014. Gustafsson, if victorious in his next fight, will also have a second shot at the title, as well as Gustafsson. Gustafsson said he wanted another shot at the championship and that he'd be able to beat anybody to get there, but that as long as Jon Jones remains the champion, he will be the main target.
Gustafsson will meet Antônio Rogério No. 37 at a post-fight press conference in Manchester, according to Dana White. He also stated that if both he and Jones win their next matches, then the title rematch will be determined. However, just 5 days after the fight was announced, Nomuro had to pull out of the match due to an injury. Later, reports revealed that Nomad never agreed to fight Gustafsson at all. Rather, he met undefeated striker Jimi Manuwa at the same time. In the second round, Manuwa was defeated by TKO after dropping a knee and a flurry of punches, giving Manuwa his first loss of his career. Both the Night and Performance of the Night awards were given to him as a result of his appearance.
UFC President Dana White announced on Saturday that a rematch with the champion Jon Jones will be next for Gustafsson, as well as the possibility of the match being held in a stadium in Sweden on pay-per-view. It was announced on May 24th that the rematch would take place in Las Vegas on August 30, 2014, at UFC 177. The statement, as well as the time and place, was not official, since Gustafsson was the only one who had opted to fight. The match was still on hold on June 2nd, and UFC President Dana White outlined it as follows: "Jones don't want to fight Gustafsson."
The Jones/Gustafsson rematch will take place on September 27, 2014, at UFC 178. The fight was supposed to take place in Toronto at first, but the venue was later changed to Las Vegas. Gustafsson was forced to pull out of the match due to a torn meniscus, and fellow top contender Daniel Cormier was pushed to re-enter the tournament.
A fight against Anthony Johnson had been reported to be on the horizon at first, but the match would later be canceled by the UFC.
At UFC on Fox 14, Gustafsson was briefly linked to a fight with Rashad Evans on January 24, 2015. Evans revealed later that he would not be able to participate in the event as he was still recovering from a knee injury. Rather, Gustafsson met Anthony Johnson at the onset of the game, with the winner ensuring a title shot against Jon Jones. Gustafsson lost via TKO in the first round of his career, marking the first time he had been barred due to strikes.
Gustafsson was supposed to face Teixeira on June 20, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 69. Gustafsson had been suspended from the card due to a back injury.
Gustafsson was supposed to be booked against Daniel Cormier, who had recently gained the vacant position in June 2015. The matchup at UFC 191 first appeared to be scheduled for 5 September 2015, at UFC 191. However, Cormier was unable to return due to an accident, and the match was postponed.
On October 3, 2015, UFC 192 hosted a championship match against Cormier. In round 2, Gustafsson land two takedowns and then lose Cormier by a knee and following punches, as a result of round 3. He was disqualified by a split decision in the fight. Both fighters received Fight of the Night awards for their efforts. Cormier said in interviews after the war that the fight with Gustafsson had been the hardest of his career. Gustafsson sustained during the war, and a provisional medical suspension was not expected until April.
On September 3, 2016, Gustafsson took on Jan Bachachówkiz at UFC Fight Night 93. He was awarded by unanimous vote (30–27, 30–27, and 30–27).
For the third time, a partnership with Antônio Rogério Nogério No. 100 was scheduled, and it was set to take place on November 19, 2016. However, Gustafsson pulled out of the match just days after the announcement of it, citing an injury. Ryan Bader had him replaced in turn. He later revealed that he had sustained a back injury, which would keep him out of training and competition indefinitely.
In the main event at UFC Fight Night 109, a rescheduled brawl with Teixeira took place on May 28th. Gustafsson took the fight after dominating the first four rounds by knockout early in the fifth round. Both fighters were given awards for their efforts at Fight of the Night.
Gustafsson was first scheduled to face Luke Rockhold after a shoulder injury, but Rockhold would have to pull out of the fight due to an injury. Gustafsson had originally intended to face Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 227 on August 4, 2018. However, it was announced on July 19, 2018, that Oezdemir was booted from the match due to a broken nose. Gustafsson also pulled out of the match due to injury on July 22, it was announced. Gustafsson sustained a hamstring injury and that the team was hoping for him to return before the year's end.
Gustafsson will face Jon Jones, who has returned to the United States 232 for the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on October 10th. In round three, he was disqualified due to a mechanical breakdown. Gustafsson sustained an injured groin during the fight as a result of Jones' knee injury.
In the main event at UFC Fight Night 153, Gustafsson next met Anthony Smith on June 1, 2019. In the fourth round, he lost the fight by rear-naked choke submission. Gustafsson said he would leave MMA by taking off his gloves, laying them on the floor of the octagon, and adding, "The show is over, guys."
Just a few months after Gustafsson's departure from action, rumors of a comeback were already in place. Gustafsson had expressed an interest in returning to the United States on November 7th, 2019, according to UFC President Dana White.
Gustafsson defeated Swedish MMA competitor Anton Turkalj in a battling match in Sweden on December 11, 2019. He was deemed victorious by points.
Gustafsson admitted in an interview on April 3rd that he was planning a training trip to the United States as soon as travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted, as soon as the travel restrictions were lifted. He said that the outcome of this trip would determine whether he would make a comeback or not.
Gustafsson announced his return to active MMA action in the UFC as part of the heavyweight division on June 5th. Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabrcio Werdum debuted on July 26, 2020, at UFC on ESPN 14. In round one, he lost the match by an armbar submission.
On September 4, 2021, Gustafsson was scheduled to face Paul Craig in a light heavyweight match at UFC Fight Night 191. However, Gustafsson was forced to cancel a week ahead of the event due to injury.
Gustafsson was expected to remain a heavyweight and meet Ben Rothwell on May 2022. Rothwell was indeed dropped from the UFC roster at the end of March, but it was later revealed at the end of March.
At UFC Fight Night 208, Gustafsson met Nikita Krylov. He lost the first round by being knocked out early.
Gustafsson will meet Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 282, on December 10th.