At UFC 165, Alexander Gustafsson demonstrated that sometimes it pays to get the crap kicked out of you.
Although he lost, the Swedish star must be feeling good right now—at least in terms of where he is as a fighter, rather than how he physically feels.
This is the rare case that even the loser won a little.
Everyone expected Jon Jones to put on a show, but fewer fans thought Gustafsson would put on such a great fight.
In the end, the decision was fair. Junior dos Santos put it best.
Gustafsson didn't do enough to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's better than the champ. At the very least, though, he was a game challenger and has earned a rematch and another nice payday.
That's not a bad result, even in a loss.
Here is the stock market watch on three other fighters from UFC 165.
What a beauty of a spinning back kick. ESPN's Max Bretos thinks any prospective fighter should watch that Renan Barao kick to get an idea of whether or not this is what he or she really wants.
The UFC named it Knockout of the Night.
As the interim champion, Barao is in a weird place. As good as the champ was, Dominick Cruz is still waiting in the wings whenever he gets healthy. All the Brazilian can do is win his fights as cleanly as possible, and that's exactly what he did on Saturday night.
Stock in the Middle
Coming into UFC 165, it was hard for Jones to go anywhere but down in terms of his standing.
He was already the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. No matter how easily he won, he wasn't going to be any more highly regarded.
It was good for the champion to look strong following his gruesome toe injury during the Chael Sonnen fight, so in that regard, it was a positive showing.
Otherwise, he had arguably the toughest test of his career. He was pummeled badly and looked in a bad way after the fight (h/t ESPN's Todd Grisham).
Although he earned the win, it was far from a comfortable result.
Matt Mitrione now has three losses in four fights, and his bout was the only one on the main card to end in the first round.
Given his age and record, he wasn't fighting to become a contender for the heavyweight title. There was a fair amount of hype surrounding the bout, so it was an opportunity for him to showcase his talent. He could have solidified himself as an above-average fighter.
Instead, he was choked out in the first round by Brendan Schaub.