Ilir Latifi expects Alexander Gustafsson to fight again soon.
Shortly after Gustafsson was submitted by Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC Stockholm he announced his retirement. Yet many thought the Swede would come back and a few months later he revealed he is considering a return.
Now, his teammate in Latifi says Gustafsson will fight again very soon. The heavyweight revealed Gustafsson retired in the first place because he wasn’t focused and motivated to fight anymore.
“I think and hope he will come back very soon. He’s young and I think he needed some time off with his family and kids and find that motivation and focus again,” Latifi told BJPENN.com. “I think we will see him very soon.”
Although Gustafsson is retired, Latifi says the 33-year-old has been in the gym constantly.
“I’m not in Sweden as I’m doing my training in Florida but we talk daily,” he explained. “He’s in the gym every day and he’s training and improving. He’s in there putting in work every day.”
Gustafsson is one of the best light heavyweights on the roster, even thought he’s on a two-fight losing streak and has yet to win a title. UFC gold has eluded him as the first time he fought for it, he lost by decision to Jon Jones, in arguably the closest fight of “Bones'” career.
After that, he had another crack at the UFC title but lost by split-decision to Daniel Cormier and then had the third shot where he was TKO’d Jon Jones.
Although Gustafsson has fallen short of winning the title, Latifi says his teammate still has what it takes to win the belt. And, he expects him to get another title shot should he win a couple of fights.
“I think he has the possibility to do that. He’s one of the best guys to never win a title,” he said. “But, he will need two or three fights to get back in there to title contention.”
When Gustafsson will return is unknown, but Latifi says it should happen very soon.
Who would you like to see Alexander Gustafsson fight if he does return to the Octagon?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/29/2020.