Alexander Gustafsson was potentially only one round away from winning the light heavyweight title on Saturday night when he faced champion Jon Jones is one of the most memorable fights in UFC history.
Gustafsson put forth a tremendous effort, but ultimately came up short against Jones as both men battled it out in a bloody and tiring affair over the course of 25 minutes.
When it was over, both fighters were visibly worn down, beaten and wearing a crimson mask of their own blood—and probably some from each other as well.
Gustafsson and Jones skipped the customary post fight press conference to head to the hospital to get checked out by doctors after going through five rounds of hell against each other to close out UFC 165.
UFC president Dana White may have summed it up best when he addressed the fighters absence from the press conference:
"You could tell in the last round both of those guys were fighting on pure heart," White said. "Both of them. Gustafsson had never been five rounds before, and he got hurt bad with those elbows in the fourth round. He got hit with some stuff in the fifth round. Jon Jones was busted up and kept moving forward. He pleaded with the doctor not to stop it in the fifth."
"Not that I can talk to this either, but I believe this is one of those fights where both guys felt like they were going to die. You feel like, 'I don't know if I can continue. I don't know if I can keep doing this. I don't know if I can go one more round,' (or) if they even knew what round it was. It was one of those kind of fights. It's why you've got to respect what happened here so much."
While there have only been preliminary reports about Jones' health after the battle on Saturday night, Gustafsson was treated and released from the hospital with only minor injuries.
According to Gustafsson's coach Eric Del Fierro who spoke to Bleacher Report via text message late Sunday night, the Swedish fighter is a little banged up but mostly just emotionally drained after coming so close to capturing the title but leaving without the gold.
"He is sore," Del Fierro wrote via text message. "(He) got five staples I believe in the top of (his) head."
The staples came as a result of a large cut that was opened in Gustafsson's hairline after he caught a wicked elbow from Jones in the fourth round of their fight. After looking good for the majority of the round, Gustafsson was blasted by an elbow strike from Jones late in the session and a few moments later blood began trickling down the side of his face.
Gustafsson was able to survive the onslaught and made it all the way to the final bell without the cut giving him very many issues.
Following the conclusion of the fight, however, it was time for Gustafsson to get treated by doctors and he will now head home to Sweden with a few staples in place to help start the healing process.
Otherwise, according to his coach, Gustafsson suffered no major injuries after the five round title fight against Jones.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.