Alexander Gustafsson needed a change.
Despite dragging pound-for-pound king Jon Jones through hell at UFC 165, putting on his finest performance to date in the process, Gustafsson is leaving Alliance MMA (h/t MMAjunkie) and setting up future training camps in his home country of Sweden.
Alliance MMA trainer Eric Del Fierro said that this decision is not particularly surprising, nor is it unusual for Gustafsson, who had previously split time between the two locations. He told MMAjunkie:
I think the camp for Mousasi he did in Sweden, so we've been in communication in camp there. I can't say what the plan is for the next camp, because I don't know.
After his impressive showing against Jones, Gustafsson's stock skyrocketed, and Del Fierro said that this inflated star-power may have driven the young Swede back to his native land.
The kid's growing as an athlete in Sweden, and his ability to earn in Sweden is a lot bigger than it is in the U.S. His whole camp has progressed, and that's great. They've got a lot of talent over there, and hopefully, he's getting to a position where he doesn't have to leave his family.
This partly explains Gustafsson's decision, but his tremendous improvements alongside Del Fierro and his training partners at Alliance seemed perfect. Why break up a relationship that is clearly benefiting all parties?
One potential reason is the presence of fellow light-heavyweight standout Phil Davis at Alliance. As a training partner and friend of Davis', Gustafsson may feel the need to separate himself from the camp in anticipation of a future rematch. Davis previously defeated Gustafsson at UFC 112, but both fighters have shown drastic evolution since then.
Speaking to Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, Gustafsson weighed in on the likelihood of a future bout with Davis:
We belong to both the top, and that's not a difficult guess that we'll meet again soon. It's not a dream opponent because we are friends, but (if) UFC decides that we should meet...it feels better to not train together right now.
What do you think of Gustafsson's decision to leave Alliance? Do you think a match with Davis is inevitable, or do you think he just wanted to spend more time in his homeland?
Sound off, and we'll discuss.
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