Alex the Mauler is Walking Away From MMA… The Swedish Legend Has Officially Retired From Mixed Martial Arts After Losing to Anthony Smith in Front of His Home Fans in Sweden… It’s a Sad End to a Legendary Fighter’s Career…
When it comes to lists of the best UFC fighters never to win a title, Alexander Gustafsson’s name will surely be there. The Swedish light-heavyweight is one of the standout light-heavyweight fighters of his generation and one of Europe’s first real UFC stars.
However, when it came to titles, the ‘Mauler’ fell short each time. He lost to Jon Jones twice. While the first time around is regarded as one of the greatest UFC fights ever, the second was a much more ignominious and one-sided affair. He also was defeated by Daniel Cormier for the title and was previously knocked out by Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson in Sweden too.
This latest defeat to Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Gustafsson. After getting submitted by the title challenger, he no longer feels inspired to fight at the highest level. Check out the finish below.
— UFC (@ufc) June 1, 2019
It was a strange fight in many ways. The first two rounds were quite cagey, with Smith putting out a little bit more output to claim them. His power had Gustafsson wary, as he looped around the cage on the outside. The action heated up in the third, with ‘Gus’ stepping it up, slamming kicks and punches into Smith. The crowd were on their feet and loving the action. A kick to the liver left Smith reeling. Gustafsson took him down and landed a barrage of elbows to end the round.
Unfortunately for the Swede that was to be the high of the night. Smith stalked him around the octagon in the fourth stanza, hunting for that knockout blow. Gustafsson made a grievous error by trying to trip ‘Lionheart’. The American fighter was able to reverse it and took his opponent’s back. Elbows opened up the opportunity for the rear-naked choke and the crowd was silenced.
After the fight, Gustafsson said: “the show is over.” He then left his gloves down in the centre of the octagon. Later he confirmed that he had indeed retired from professional MMA.
— MMA Raw & Uncut (@mma_uncut) June 1, 2019
‘The Mauler’ justified his reasons for retiring after the fight. Basically, he doesn’t want to be regarded as a journeyman or a gatekeeper. If he’s not legitimately in the title picture then he isn’t motivated to continue.
“I feel like I don’t do this for money or because of anything else,” Gustafsson said. “I do this because I want to be the best and beat the best and if I can’t do that then it is what it is. I lost to Jon and that was the third title fight and I felt like because I got a little bit of an injury in that fight and I didn’t get to show my capacity. So I had some hope in me still and I felt this Anthony Smith fight would be a great comeback and start climbing again. But now I lose to Anthony too. It feels like I don’t have it in me anymore. It’s like a confirmation to myself because I lost my three title fights.”
"The show is over, guys."
— UFC (@ufc) June 1, 2019
Gustafsson exits MMA with a record of 18-6 (10-6 in the UFC), spanning all the way back to 2007. The 32-year-old has notably beaten Glover Teixeira, Jimi Manuwa, Mauricio Rua, Thiago Silva, and Matt Hamill throughout his career. One of the nice guys in MMA, his retirement has seen a lot of well-wishers in his direction. Surprisingly, one of them is his former rival Jon Jones, who tweeted:
“Honestly I don’t believe you but if you’re serious, thank you for everything,” Jones wrote. “You held the division to a standard and made us better. Go kick ass with that Family.”
You’ve got to respect that.