Meet the new zen Alexander Gustafsson, who seems in a much better headspace than he was back in 2015 after coming within inches of winning the light heavyweight title for the second time in his career. Perhaps it's the new baby. Perhaps it's the new fiance, who he proposed to after masterfully dismantling Glover Teixeira and knocking him out in Stockholm weeks ago.
Whatever the case, this Gustafsson didn't get too hot and bothered when his training partner Jimi Manuwa revealed Dana White had promised him the next shot at the 205 pound title if he defeats Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 214.
“Well, I haven’t spoken to Dana yet, so let’s see what happens,” Gustafsson said on The MMA Hour. “If Jimi gets it, I’m happy for him. So let’s see what happens. ... I’d probably have to fight another guy, [Jimi and I] are not fighting each other. We’re brothers now, and we’re training hard together. So that’s how we look at things. I’m just happy if he gets the fight, and we’ll take it from there.”
It would certainly be unfortunate for Alex considering the caliber of fighters he's taken out (Teixeira, Blachowicz) versus Jimi (Anderson, Saint Preux), not to mention the fact that Gustafsson has a victory over Manuwa from 2014. But nothing is set in stone. It's not like Dana White hasn't promised title shots before, only to change his mind along with the ever shifting MMA landscape.
Either way, Gustafsson seems content to wait his turn and even fight in the meantime, a rarity these days since WME-IMG took over and many top contenders have dug in their heels over the possibility of a title shot.