Top light heavyweight contender says he is ready to beat Jon Jones.
For the longest time Alexander Gustafsson got by in his mixed martial arts career because of his excellent natural skills.
But a defeat at the hands of Phil Davis in his 10th pro fight turned his career around as he realised he needed to do more if he was to make to the top.
Much has been made of that loss to Davis via submission in Abu Dhabi, with the star collegiate wrestler becoming an unlikely ally of the 26-year-old Swede as they both sought to improve on deficient areas in their arsenal.
“In our fight, you didn’t get to see how good he really is,” Davis said.
“When I started training with him, I immediately thought, ‘Man, it’s a good thing I didn’t stand up with this guy for too long.’ He’s a monster. Things really could have gone wrong for me.”
That loss to Davis was the last time Gustaffson tasted defeat in the octagon as earned his shot at Jon Jones’ title after winning his past six fights in a row.
It was being spurned by the loss, and a change of training camp to be along side Davis in America, that saw the tall 205-pounder go from young talent to a contender.
“The main thing I learned in San Diego was I can’t do this and compete with the best guys in the world if I’m just doing MMA as a hobby,” Gustafsson said.
“It has to be my job. Since that camp, it has been.”
The Swede is not being given much of a chance against Jones, who is aiming for his 10th straight win in the UFC and his sixth title defence, something that suits the challenger just fine.
“To me, the only thing that matters is who has worked the hardest and who wants that belt more,” he said.
“I know it’s me, and I will take that belt.”