Alexander Gustafsson (15-2) could have the chance to play spoiler in more than one way.
Currently, the Swedish fighter is a finalist for the EA Sports UFC cover. There’s only one round of voting left and the final round of voting ends Dec. 1. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones will already be represented on the cover.
If “The Mauler” beats out the other finalist, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, how fitting would it be to have the XBox and Playstation covers don the faces of the two men who put on one of the wars of the year?
“It’s really great,” said Gustafsson. “I’m in the final with GSP, it’s been amazing. It’s very motivating and I’m feeling great that I have so many fans out there that want to see me on the cover with Jones and want to see the rematch.”
St. Pierre is highly regarded for being one of the UFC’s most popular athletes and biggest pay-per-view star. If Gustafsson could usurp GSP from being on the cover, it would be a huge moment for him.
“I would never see myself in the finals a few weeks back so I feel great that so many people have been voting on me,” Gustafsson said in an interview with MMA Fight Corner’s Heidi Fang. “I think it’s unreal for me to be in the final with GSP because I’ve been competing with some good athletes. So, I feel great if I win everything to see myself on the cover too.”
When the voting began, there were 16 other fighters including the likes of Dominick Cruz, Ronda Rousey, Jose Aldo, Johny Hendricks and more.
At UFC 165, Gustafsson gave Jones everything he had in his arsenal. He went the distance with Jones and also became the first man inside the Octagon to ever take him down. It was obvious that the 26-year-old contender gave Jones the battle of a lifetime. While he was proud of his effort, there’s nothing he wants more than another shot at dethroning the champ.
“It feels good, but it would feel so much better with the belt around my waist,” said Gustafsson. “It was a good fight. It really went like we planned, but I didn’t do enough to win that fight. So I really hope I can have another shot at the title. It will be a lot different fight next time.”
Jones is still recovering from a foot injury suffered in their all-out brawl. Once he’s healed, Jones is expected to face Glover Teixeira around March or April. Alex’s next fight is against Jimi Manuwa (14-0), the surging English striker. Ideally, if all scenarios play out in his favor, he’ll get to rematch Jones for the belt.
“I could have done a lot of things differently. But it was tough fight and I could’ve done much more. He did enough to win the fight and he caught me with some good shots and it was just a tough fight. But the next fight will be another outcome. I will win the fight next time for sure.”
Gustafsson will fight Jimi Manuwa in London on March 8. Gustafsson is in no way looking past Manuwa. In fact, he sees this fight as an opportunity to prove who the top dog is.
“He’s a really tough guy, he’s a tough striker and he hits very hard. I’m excited. He’s a European, I’m a European, so it’s going to be ‘let’s see who’s the best European fighter’.”
As of right now, Gustafsson is training in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Allstars Training Center. When the camp starts for the Manuwa scrap, he may also return to train with Alliance in San Diego, CA.
For now, Gustafsson has high hopes of meeting Jon Jones again in the near future; not just on the EA Sports UFC cover, but inside the Octagon as well.
“That’s what I want. After I beat Jimi, I’m certainly motivated to fight Jones again for the belt and I certainly hope that I get that chance.”
To vote for “The Mauler” to grace the cover of the video game, head to UFC.com/covervote. Additionally, you can tweet #VoteAlex and those votes will count as well.
Listen to the full interview with Alexander Gustafsson here: