Sweden’s hometown hero meets an American heavy hitter for the next potential shot at Jon Jones in Stockholm’s Tele2 Arena. UFC on Fox 14’s main event spotlights division #1 Alexander Gustafsson (16-2) against #3 Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (18-4). Gustafsson, the man credited for giving Jon Jones the toughest fight of his career, is in the path of Johnson’s 8-fight winning streak and resurgence in the UFC.
Compounded with struggles to make weight requirements, Johnson’s loss to Vitor Belfort in UFC 142 resulted in a cut from the UFC. Over two years since the release, Johnson powered through Titan FC and World Series of Fighting for 8 consecutive wins. With a debut decision victory over Phil Davis and a 1st round knock out victory over Antônio Rogério Nogueira, Johnson has redeemed himself and his UFC Career.. On the rebounding run and loss to Belfort, Johnson states:
“Brazil helped me out … changed my life,” He recalled. “After fighting Vitor and going through the things there and seeing how the system really works, that changed my life around.”
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva recalls what ultimately lead to Johnson’s resigning,
“He has all the attributes to be a champion,” Silva said of Johnson. “I see so many fighters with potential in this sport but very few make the most of it. We are now seeing what Anthony Johnson is truly capable of. I am happy to see him do so well.”
Gustafsson’s Quest for Revenge
Alexander Gustafsson suffered a controversial unanimous decision loss to Jon Jones at UFC 165. His following victory over Jimi Manuwa earned a rematch against Jon Jones set for September of 2014. However, Gustafsson suffered an injury in training and was replace by Daniel Cormier for the next light heavyweight title fight. As much as the missed rematch meant for “The Mauler,” Jones couldn’t be further from his mind. He tells Fox Sports:
“I don’t even think about him at all,” Gustafsson said. “I don’t have time or room for that. I know Anthony Johnson is going to come in the best shape of his life and better than ever. That’s all I can focus on now. That’s a big threat to me. I’m not thinking about Jon Jones at all.”
Stylistically, Gustafsson knows Johnson is a heavy-handed swinger notorious for quickly overwhelming his opponents,
“I just know for a fact he’s going to be dangerous the first couple of rounds. I have to do my thing to stay away from his heavy punches and I will. I’m prepared. This is a sport where if you land one of those shots the night could be over. You have to stay ready and you have to stay focused.”
Gustafsson and Johnson compete for the title shot at UFC on Fox 14, live on Fox Saturday at 8 p.m./5 p.m. ETPT. Between the two top light heavyweights, who do you think will edge the fight? Can Jon Jones potentially beat either of these contenders?