In a perfect world, Alexander Gustafsson would next be fighting the winner of Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen, who do battle at UFC 159 on April 27, 2013 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
That was one of the prizes in store for the Swedish "Mauler" if he was able to get past Gegard Mousasi at UFC on FUEL TV 9 earlier this month in Stockholm; however, a nasty gash above his eye (see it here) suffered just a few days before the fight, took care of that.
And Mousasi took care of local substitute, Ilir Latifi (watch the replay here).
Fans clamoring for a "Dreamcatcher" title fight can clamor no more. The Armenian is going under the knife to take care of this injury. That means Gustafsson is right where we left him, the winner of six straight and one of the few contenders who hasn't already been broken by "Bones."
In addition, his cut only required three stitches to close, putting him right back into the "mix."
If Gustafsson can't step in for either Jones or Sonnen in case of an untimely injury (like this), he will gladly settle for the next best thing, which just so happens to be fellow light heavyweight contender and former champion Lyoto Machida, according to a report from MMA Junkie.
Machida was expected to get the next crack at the division crown, but after a tepid performance in his split-decision win over Dan Henderson at UFC 157 earlier this year in Anaheim, mixed martial arts (MMA) fans weren't exactly breathing fire over "The Dragon's" place in line.
The Brazilian was previously choked unconscious by Jones at UFC 140 back in December 2011.
It's unlikely we'll know one way or the other which matches get made until the dust settles in the wake of UFC 159. Once we determine if we have a new (or defending) champion, it will be a lot easier to figure out where all the pieces fit into the division puzzle.
Are you down for Gustafsson vs. Machida?