UFC 165: 3 Burning Questions We Have About Alexander Gustafsson

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2013

Dec 8, 2012, Seattle, WA, USA; Alexander Gustafsson fights Mauricio Rua (not pictured) during their light heavyweight bout at MMA on FOX 5 at Key Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Gustafsson's arsenal doesn't just revolve around his size.  It is also defined by speed, technique and execution.

Over the years, the Swedish top contender has demonstrated his Octagon prowess by combining crisp leg kicks, powerful punches and timely submissions.

In doing so, Gustafsson has earned the opportunity to take on Jon Jones for UFC light heavyweight supremacy.

While the chance to fight for a title is an accomplishment in itself, fighting the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world isn't going to be a walk in the park.

There are a variety of calculated measurements and intriguing possibilities to consider.  And we—the fans and mediahave a few reservations about the division's key contender.

From his youth to his lack of big-fight experience, red flags can been seen for miles.  But if Gustafsson's ability inside the cage has taught us anything about him as an athlete, it's that you never sleep on a 6'5" mauler.

Here are three burning questions we have for Gustafsson.


Will his size really play a factor?

For months, people have been intrigued by how well Gustafsson matches up physically to the champ.  As one of the biggest fighters in the division, the challenger possesses great potential opposite a phenom known for his natural gift of size.

But considering Jones has practically torn through each and every contender he's faced, why would Gustafsson be any different?  Is his size really going to be that big of a factor?

If the Swede can find his range early, he may find a way to pin the champ in a corner.


Will he be ready for the big stage?

You have to realize that fighting for a championship is not easy.  Some fighters work their entire careers to garner that opportunity only to falter under the pressure.

For Gustafsson, someone who hasn't really logged hours atop high-caliber main cards, opposing a titleholder as potent as Jones could be, for lack of a better saying, the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Under the bright lights of a UFC pay-per-view, the Swedish marksman may find it challenging to hit his target.

We'll find out Saturday which mauler is going to show up.


Can he win?

Sounds simple enough.  But it's often easier to ask a question than answer it.

The bottom line is that Gustafsson, as good as he is, will be trying to pry the light heavyweight title from the arms of the most dangerous man on the planet.

Say what you will about his overall popularity and sometimes self-indulgent personality, but Jon "Bones" Jones is a seemingly unstoppable force.

Sure, he has never defended gold against a young fighter in his prime, and he's never encountered an opponent who rivals his size. But Jones has done nothing inside the cage to suggest he's ready to lose.

With that said, the question remains: Can Gustafsson pull of the upset?

That's for them figure out to and us to discuss. 


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