Alexander Gustafsson surprised the entire MMA community, including rival Jon Jones, after announcing his retirement from fighting following his loss to Anthony Smith at UFC Stockholm.
The former 3-time UFC title challenger, Gustafsson, cemented a legacy inside the octagon despite never winning a championship on the biggest stage of them all. And his biggest rival ever, the reigning 205lbs champion Jon Jones, reacted for the first time about ‘The Mauler’s’ retirement in a recent interview with “ESPN“.
Like the vast majority of the public, Jones was caught by surprise by Gustafsson’s decision, but he hopes that the Sweden’s hero will return to the sport.
“It was surprising, yes. I feel bad because I feel like he has more fight left in him. He beats 80% of the division, maybe 85% of the division. I hope it’s just a little mental thing he’s going through, that he’s going to get over and come back.” Jon Jones said. “Him being out of the game is doing the sport (and injustice). I would imagine he’s going to get back on his feet, brush himself off and come back.”
Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson have squared off on two occasions. The first fight, which took place in 2013, was an instant classic and resulted in Jones getting his arm raised by unanimous decision. That fight is still considered to be the greatest light heavyweight contest in UFC history. The pair would rematch five years later in the headliner of UFC 232, with ‘Bones’ emerging victorious by way of third round knockout.
Jones will return to the octagon at next month’s UFC 239 event against dangerous knockout artist Thiago Santos.
Do you think we will ever see recently retired former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson return to the octagon as suggested by Jon Jones? Sound off in the comments section PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENNDOTCOM June 26, 2019