Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustaffson will be ending his retirement for a heavyweight bout with Fabricio Werdum.
‘The Mauler’ had announced his retirement from fighting shortly after his submission loss to Anthony Smith in June of 2019.
Now, just a year after making that decision, the 33-year-old has signed on the dotted line to comeback for a bout with former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum.
According to the powerful Swede the reason he decided to return is simple, he never lost the itch to compete.
“I’ve missed it, I miss competing and I don’t feel like I’m just quite done with it yet,” Alexander Gustafsson told MaulerBet (via MMAMania). “Despite of what I felt before. So, I never lost the itch. And now in a new division and against new opponents, I have very exciting times ahead of me. I made the decision [to come back] in the past few weeks. I’ve stayed active, despite the strange times we’re in.”
Gustafsson then detailed his decision to move up a weight class and compete at heavyweight.
“I’ve always seen myself as a big light heavyweight fighter, I have a big frame and walk around quite heavy. So, I’ve always had to cut around 33 lbs. to make weight. And, since the fight got finalized just now, with 6-7 weeks to go I wouldn’t have been able to make LHW anyway.” Alexander Gustafsson explained. “But regardless I would’ve made to move to HW to try it out, it’s a new challenge to put it simply. For me to be able to down a chicken pasta in fight week hasn’t happened in 15 years… In the past when I’d made my 33 lbs. weight cut there would always be some small injury, my back, my knee or something else. It takes a toll on you to make that cut during all these years.”
Gustafsson then discussed his July 25 opponent, Fabricio Werdum.
“He’s experienced and a bit of a legend in the sport when you look at his career. He’s gained some weight in recent years but he’s not to be underestimated, he’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeves and is a legit black belt. And he, like everyone else in the HW division, hits hard. So it will be an awesome challenge for me and it’s very motivating for me to fight him. I will go in there with full force, fully prepared to win. This is not a game and I will go in there to maul his face, get my W and take it from there.”
Alexander Gustafsson will be looking to snap a two-fight losing skid when he makes his heavyweight debut next month.
As for Fabricio Werdum, the former division champion is coming off a disappointing loss to Aleksei Oleinik at last month’s UFC 249 event, in what served as his first bout in over two years.
Who are you picking to emerge victorious when Gustafsson and Werdum throw down on July 25? Share your thoughts in the comments section PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on June 13, 2020