After losing to Anthony Johnson, earlier this year, Alexander Gustafsson considered retirement. He fought back that darkness after getting a surprise UFC light heavyweight title shot against new champion Daniel Cormier.
Gustafsson fought heroically, but still lost a razor-close decision. After two heartbreaking championship losses in the past couple years, Gustafsson is no doubt disappointed and searching for answers.
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However, a recent interview showed the Swede upset, but still resolute and intent on getting to the top of the UFC. "It was hard to lose. I hate to lose," he told Allehanda.
"I do not want to be a journeyman. I do not want to be a fighter that people should beat to get a title fight. I do not want to be in fights where people see me as an obstacle on the road. I want to be the man challenging. I'm not satisfied with being ranked second and third."
Gustafsson went on to say that he recently met with UFC president Dana White and UFC co-owner and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, and that they told him they have unspecified, "big plans" for him. Whatever marketing and other match ups the UFC brass may have in store for The Mauler, he just wants to get himself back into a position where he can take on the likes of Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones, again.
"I will continue as long as I know I have the potential to be the best," he promised.
"If there comes a day where I feel I can not go any further than this, that day I stop. Then I put the gloves on the shelf. But I feel that there's more to achieve. I know I can be better. I know I have the potential to beat 'DC'. I know I can beat Jon Jones."
Gustafsson has paved the way for all Swedish and European MMA fighters, and more than proved his mettle. Still, being runner-up will never be good enough for him.
"I'm such a self-critic that I find it hard to give myself credit for something," he explained.
"Sure, it was a good match against 'DC.' It was a good match against Jones, but I did not win. [So,], it is not a good match. It is not enough to have put Sweden on the map."