The MMA community was thrown for a loop earlier today (Sat., June 1, 2019) when Alexander Gustafsson announced his retirement from the sport.
Gustafsson first took his gloves off and left them in the cage after his main event submission loss to Anthony Smith at UFC Stockholm (results HERE) and then doubled down on his career-ending decision during the post-fight show.
“Yeah I am. I’m done,” said Gustafsson. “It feels like I don’t have it in me anymore to be honest. I did a mistake that I shouldn’t do and I just have a feeling it’s the time now.
“I don’t want to be a journeyman. I don’t want to do this just because I’m getting paid. I just want to do this because I love it and I want to be at the top.”
“I’m disappointed with the outcome of the fight,” added Gustafsson. “I was ready for this. I’ve been training hard and I was just ready. I was in my zone and it felt good. I don’t do this for the money or anything. I do this because I want to be the best and beat the best so if I can’t do that, it is what it is.”
Gustafsson's retirement sparked much reaction from the MMA community but none more interesting than that of current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Remember, Jones and Gustafsson have forged one of the biggest rivalries in UFC light heavyweight history over the years. Their first title fight back at UFC 165, which Jones won via unanimous decision, remains one of the best championship fights in promotion history. The rematch, which took place this past December at UFC 232, saw “Bones” knock off Gustafsson via third-round TKO.
Jones took to Twitter after UFC Stockholm to issue the following statement:
Honestly I don’t believe you but if you’re serious, thank you for everything. You held the division to a standard and made us better. Go kick ass with that Family.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) June 1, 2019
“Honestly I don’t believe you but if you’re serious, thank you for everything,” wrote Jones. “You held the division to a standard and made us better. Go kick ass with that Family.”
Jones then retweeted an image of himself with Gustafsson after their title fight nearly six years ago with the caption, “Let the good times roll.”
While Gustafsson’s decision to walk away from the sport seems legit, many fight fans share a similar outlook as Jones. Gustafsson is only 32 years of age and still one of the best light heavyweight fighters in the world today. Whether he takes some time off to rethink his chances at 205 pounds or makes a decision to chase a title at heavyweight, there’s a possibility that“Mauler” ends up back inside of the Octagon at some point in time.
Until then, Gustafsson has officially been placed on the shelf.
For complete UFC Stockholm results and coverage click here.