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Gustafsson: The Odd Man Out

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community news, Gustafsson: The Odd Man Out 

Short memories and quick decisions have left Gustafsson out of the light-heavyweight title picture.  When UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and top contender Daniel Cormier had their now infamous shoving match on August 4, the fight world nearly came to a halt.  Fans and media personalities immediately took to Twitter, first to challenge the legitimacy of the confrontation, then to try and get their hands on video footage of the altercation. Everyone wanted to see what has quickly become one of the most talked about events in some time.  The two tore down the UFC press stage while security did their best to separate the hulking light-heavyweights.  Between Twitter battles and off-air (now leaked) death threats, Cormier versus Jones has gone from an intriguing fight between a wrestler and a striker to one of the most talked about and riveting storylines in the sports history.  One part of this story, however, has been forgotten. Before Cormier was granted the world title shot, former challenger Alexander Gustafsson was supposed to have the opportunity to strip Jones of his title. At UFC 165 last September, the heavy underdog in Gustafsson gave Jones the most physical and competitive bout of his career, even taking the decision on some media scorecards. Ultimately, though, it was Jones who walked away with the disputed decision, but it left fans craving a rematch.  After a March win over Jimi Manuwa, the UFC confirmed that Gustafsson would be next in a rematch for the world title, but a knee injury forced Gustafsson out of the fight, leading to Cormier receiving what was supposed to be a September 2014 world title shot.  With Jones’ injury, the Jones versus Cormier light-heavyweight championship bout has been rescheduled for January 3 in Las Vegas.  The only problem, of course, is that by then the original top contender Gustafsson will be healthy and left without an opponent.  Gustafsson is left in the unenviable position of either waiting for his world title shot, not likely to take place much before summer of 2015, or take a filler bout against a top contender. Neither option works to his favor.  If he waits out, he’ll get rusty. This is the prime of his career and if he’s not fighting, he’s not making money. At 27, Gustafsson is just reaching the most important years of his fighting life, and to sit out an entire year for a world title shot seems ill advised. As a young fighter, he needs to continue fighting to improve and to support his family and lifestyle.  On the other, why risk a sure thing? If Gustafsson takes a top contender bout, it’s likely to be against either Rashad Evans or Anthony Johnson, both of which have explosive styles which could cause the Swedish sensation trouble. We’ve seen too many fighters with sure title shots lose their opportunity thanks to a lack of patience.  Gustafsson has been adamant in his displeasure over the January world title fight between Jones and Cormier. Since Tuesday’s announcement, he’s taken to social media to voice his disappointment.  On Instagram, Gustafsson posted a photo of himself with Jones after their epic UFC 165 clash while they were receiving treatment in a Toronto hospital. In the comments, Gustafsson wrote “Apparently @UFC thinks that acting like clowns on a pressconference (sic) will hype a fighter more than doing the fight of the century, thats (sic) ridiculous.” As of publication, nearly 8400 people had liked his post.  Gustafsson isn’t the only one in an awkward position. Many are arguing that with Jones’ injury, Gustafsson should be given the title shot he was granted, while it’s Cormier that should have to wait. Others say that Cormier versus Jones is the most talked about championship bout in years, and that is reason alone why it should go on.  No matter which option Gustafsson chooses, he will have to work hard to get back into the UFC’s limelight. With tons of talent on the roster and new stars emerging every month, it’s on Gustafsson to re-establish himself as an elite level talent with elite level drawing ability. Fans forget quickly, which is why Gustafsson has fallen from favor and Cormier has risen in his place. Ultimately, the UFC has gone with Cormier, leaving Gustafsson to make a decision over his future. The soon to be healthy fighter has two unappealing options to choose from. One sees him risk his world title opportunity, the other sees him not be in peak condition for his eventual championship opportunity.       Check out these related stories: Did Jon Jones Just Get Inside Cormier’s Head? Worse Things Have Happened in the MGM Grand Lobby Gustafsson Out—Daniel Cormier to Challenge Jon Jones For Belt

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