Alexander Gustafsson Considered Retirement After KO Loss to Anthony Johnson

Jordy McElroy@https://twitter.com/JordyMcElroyCorrespondent IApril 3, 2015

AP Images

No man is unbendable, unbreakable or invincible. Though we may achieve Herculean feats, every human being is bound by mortality and the potential for failure.

This concept became very real for Alexander Gustafsson after he suffered his first knockout loss at the hands of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in Stockholm, Sweden.

It took Gustafsson seven years to climb to the top of the light heavyweight division and build a reputation as Jon Jones’ equal. It only took Johnson two minutes and 15 seconds to destroy it.

Brick by brick, Gustafsson watched everything he had worked so diligently for crumble in front of his eyes. A pen drop would have sounded throughout the Tele2 Arena that night. Gustafsson, a world-class fighter and the pride of Sweden, burst into tears in front of family, friends and fans.

In an interview with Swedish newspaper Expressen, per MMAFighting.com, Gustafsson admitted he considered an early retirement after the knockout loss:

It has definitely been my most difficult period in life so far. I was completely serious about quitting MMA. I don’t care really about the title, it was that it happened in front of my home crowd. My cousins were in place. It just took it too hard. I didn’t have the will to continue. I was really close to quitting. But I have received so much love from fans, loved ones and my team.

An epic five-round battle with UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones propelled Gustafsson to superstardom in 2013. MMA fans even chose him to appear alongside Jones on the cover of EA Sports’ UFC video game.

Several months ago, the MMA world was singing Gustafsson’s praises, but since the loss to Johnson, he has fallen back into obscurity, where the past waits to shine in the present once more. The “what have you done for me lately” mentality is prevalent in combat sports, and fighters are only as good as their last fight.

Gustafsson knows he has to rebuild his reputation as a top-tier fighter in the light heavyweight division, especially after such a devastating loss in front of his home crowd. He’ll look to lay a new foundation when he meets Glover Teixeira at UFC Fight Night 69 on June 20.

“I had to bite the sour apple, and now I have a new fight that made me very motivated,” Gustafsson said.

Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also theMMA writer for Rocktagon and FanRag Sports.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.