After catching wind of Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) decision to allow Daniel Cormier to move up to heavyweight to challenge division champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 on July 7, Alexander Gustafsson was none-too pleased.
That’s because “The Mauler — who is currently ranked No. 1 at 205 pounds — will have to wait longer to get a rematch against “DC” for the Light Heavyweight strap. As a result, the towering Swede has took it upon himself to ask UFC to give him an interim title fight for the time being.
“Me fighting D.C. [Cormier] for the real title, that opportunity went out the window,” Gustafsson said in a recent interview with ESPN.com. “I feel I earned my spot off my last performance -- but here we are. With D.C. moving up, the next step for me should be for an interim title. I brought it up to the UFC. Let’s see what happens. All I know is that in my situation, whoever they put in front of me next, it must be for the interim title,” he added.
Before you slam “The Mauler’s” line of thinking, he does make an interesting point citing the fact that “DC” has already put a cutoff date for his combat career. Furthermore, Gus doesn’t rule out Cormier leaving the sport following his 265-pound title fight against Miocic.
“I feel like I’ve been taking fights and climbing ladders, climbing rankings, my entire career,” Gustafsson said. “I’m 31 years old. I still feel I’ll compete for many years, but right now, every fight has to have a thought behind it. It has to take me the right way. Every fight, you take damage. You take damage in your training camp. I just came back from an injury recently. I’ve got that fire in me, and I want to take a fight that will actually take me towards my goal, ‘he added.
”D.C. is moving up to heavyweight and that’s good for him and it’s good for the organization, but for me, the No. 1 contender, it’s not fair. It’s not fair at all. And no one knows what D.C. will do after this fight. He may put his gloves down and walk away,” he concluded.
Gustafsson is currently riding a two-fight win streak and was last seen schooling Glover Teixeira in May of 2017. Alex came up short in his bid to win the 205-pound crown at UFC 192 against Cormier via split decision back in 2015.
While UFC isn’t opposed to creating interim belts, is it necessary in this case seeing as how “DC” recently defended it in January against Volkan Oezdemir and could very well do again at the end of the year win, lose or draw against Stipe?
Meanwhile, Tyron Woodley -- who hasn’t defend his belt in nearly eight months — was quick to shut down talks of an interim belt in his division, so it will be interesting to see “DC’s” reaction to Gustafsson’s proposal.