UFC 165: 4 Fights for Alexander Gustafsson If He Doesn't Get Immediate Rematch
Headlined by an epic affair between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, UFC 165 will go down as an event to remember. Although Jones collected the win that was widely expected, his challenger gave him the beating of his career in the process.
Largely due to a late rally from the champion, Gustafsson didn't come away with the belt. However, with his performance, he earned the respect of the entire MMA world. The post-fight press conference was littered with questions about a potential rematch for the belt.
Dana White was noncommittal about what would come next, and why wouldn't he be? With both Glover Teixeira and Daniel Cormier waiting in the wings, the UFC president has no easy decision ahead of him.
Here is a look at four fights Alexander Gustafsson could take if he doesn't get an immediate rematch.
Alexander Gustafsson was not supposed to get a title fight with Jon Jones after he defeated Shogun Rua last December. In fact, he was booked for an April followup against one-time Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi in Gustafsson's native Sweden.
Unfortunately for Swedish fans, their local favorite was removed from the card when a cut over his eye forced him from the fight. Mousasi was left with very limited options for an opponent due to short-notice visa issues and instead dominated Ilir Latifi.
Current UFC rankings have "The Dreamcatcher" as the No. 8 contender in the light heavyweight division. Along with Antonio Nogueira, Mousasi is one of the few ranked fighters at 205 pounds who is coming off of a win and is not a fellow member of Alliance MMA.
Gustafsson vs. Mousasi was an intriguing matchup when it was originally booked and would be an excellent fight today.
Currently ranked as the No. 6 contender in the light heavyweight division, Antonio Nogueira is another opponent Gustafsson was supposed to meet in his homeland of Sweden. However, in this case, it was the Brazilian who withdrew from their UFC on Fuel TV 2 bout due to injury.
Picking up victories over former champions Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans, "Minotouro" is in an enviable position within the division. Should he draw Gustafsson as an opponent once again, the duo would likely battle for a 2014 title shot.
Alexander Gustafsson finds himself healing up while fans discuss his tightly contested decision loss. In early August, former champion Lyoto Machida found himself in identical shoes following a scrap against Phil Davis.
Machida won a pair of fights that designated him the rightful contender to Jon Jones' light heavyweight championship. However, Gustafsson was ultimately given the opportunity instead. This matchup could prove to be payback for the Brazilian.
As a fellow member of Alliance MMA, Gustafsson helped Davis prepare for that UFC 163 clash. For that reason, he has already had the ability to work on techniques that prove effective against "The Dragon."
Daniel Cormier or Glover Teixeira
If Alexander Gustafsson doesn't get an immediate rematch, it is most likely because Glover Teixeira or Daniel Cormier was selected as a better opponent. One man will get the title shot and the other should have to fight "The Mauler" to see who is next in line.
Teixeira is most likely going to get the next crack at gold if the champion has anything to say about it. "Bones" has been vocal about his belief that Cormier should have to win a fight at light heavyweight before competing for its title.
"As far as Daniel Cormier, he definitely won't be getting a title fight," Jones said. "I don't think I would accept a fight against him. He's a guy I don't respect at all, and I would definitely make sure he loses the weight, makes 205 and earns himself a title shot."
When you have three guys deserving of one opportunity, the best thing you can do is go with the best available option and make the other two guys duke it out for the next spot.