Well, we sort of know for sure what's happening next with "The Mauler."
After destroying Jimi Manuwa in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 37 main event last Saturday night (March 8, 2014) at O2 Arena in London, England, Dana White made it clear at the post-fight press conference that Gustafsson was next in line for his second title shot.
Watch Gustafsson's knockout finish right here.
He will either have a rematch against Jon Jones, or face Glover Teixeira, if the Brazilian shocks the world at UFC 172.
"Gus" earned his second title fight after just one victory in the wake of his loss to Jones at UFC 165, where the Swede nearly pulled off an immense upset and amassed thousands upon thousands of fans for his influential effort.
However, the champion doesn't think it makes sense for Gustafsson to fight him just yet.
As a matter of fact, he doesn't think Daniel Cormier deserves recognition in the light heavyweight division, either, for his beating of Patrick Cummins a few weeks back. Jones thinks it makes more sense for those two individuals to duke it out against one another, with the winner emerging as the clear-cut number one contender to his throne.
As it stands right now, Gustafsson and Cormier seem like the number two and three in the 205-pound division, according to UFC, and there's also the winner of Phil Davis against Anthony Johnson at UFC 172 who will be peeking into the title picture, as well.
Jones is accusing "The Mauler" and "DC" of being scared to fight one another, since the champ has been criticized in the past about a rematch against Gustafsson (those accusations coming from his boss). It's hard to say if Jones is actually afraid of Gustafsson, but the rematch is unavoidable at this point and UFC put themselves in a perfect opportunity to book it now, rather than wait for another time.
Gustafsson was given Manuwa for a reason, and since he easily took care of business last weekend, he made the rematch possible. Their first fight in Toronto was arguably the best light heavyweight fight in UFC history, and even if Jones walked away with his title, it was the toughest fight he has ever been in.
How can UFC pass up the opportunity to book a second fight between the two?
If Gustafsson fights Cormier (even though he seems fine with it), it not only eliminates one contender out of the small bunch, but it cancels out what the fans specifically want to see. Cormier against Jones would be great in the near future since the banter between both athletes has been fun to follow, but it's not the right fight to make at this point.
Cormier could anticipate the winner of Davis vs. Johnson at UFC 172, since it makes a little more sense to have him fight another top contender and earn a title fight with another win. "DC" has a win over a guy UFC picked up from a drive-thru window, while Gustafsson has six finishes in the division.
"The Mauler" has lost to Phil Davis, but the two now train together at Alliance MMA, so their paths should be avoided until they have no choice but to fight, perhaps if the title was on the line. Maybe Gustafsson against Cormier wouldn't be a bad idea in the future ... it's simply not a smart bout to make if UFC can set up another colossal rematch the fans definitely want to see.
Plus, would a rematch of UFC 165's main event look anything like the first fight?
Only one way to find out.