Two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight title contender, Alexander Gustafsson, was expected to fight Luke Rockhold this summer after the ex-middleweight champion declared he was too big to keep hitting the 185-pound mark.
Unfortunately, one of the gnarliest leg injuries you’ll ever see (photo) felled the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) standout and torpedoed the match up, but longtime teammate and reigning 205-pound kingpin, Daniel Cormier, had a
escape back-up plan.
“Since Luke Rockhold can’t fight, I know who Alexander Gustafsson can fight,” the Olympian wrote on Twitter. “Win or lose, I say get him in there with Yoel Romero, let’s see this No. 1 contender fight.”
Romero (13-3) tried to capture the middleweight crown against Robert Whittaker at UFC 225 last weekend in Chicago; however, he came up short after five rounds of hard-hitting action (video), then had to face criticism for missing weight in his second straight title fight.
That prompted UFC President Dana White to call for a move to light heavyweight, and considering how well “Soldier of God” has performed in recent years, it would not be unreasonable to pair him with a top-five opponent.
Gustafsson (18-4) sounds game.
“In response to Daniel Cormier’s most recent tweet about me, I will fight anyone that is meaningful, including Yoel Romero, if he can be ready on time,” the towering Swede wrote on Instagram. “Here is what I want if Luke Rockhold won’t fight. I am prepared to rematch Mauricio Rua or fight Volkan Oezdemir in Germany should someone not get his visa or get injured.”
“Shogun” fell to “The Mauler” at UFC on FOX 5 way back in late 2012. The Brazilian is currently slated to throw hands with Oezdemir in the UFC Fight Night 134 main event next month in Hamburg, Germany, on FOX Sports 1 (details).
“Alternatively, I will step in for Cormier or Stipe Miocic should there be an injury for the heavyweight title,” Gustafsson said. “Either way, Cormier, defend your belt already or relinquish it by December 2018 and stop waisting everyone’s time. Oh, and try not to miss weight as heavyweight!”
Cormier, who narrowly edged Gustafsson at UFC 192 in late 2015, will suspend his duties in the 205-pound weight class to challenge Miocic for the heavyweight strap at UFC 226 next month in Las Vegas, Nevada (more on that here).
“The Mauler” hasn’t been seen since planishing Glover Teixeira at UFC Fight Night 109 in May 2017.