Three-time UFC light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson is ending his retirement and moving up to the heavyweight division.
According to a report from Combate, Gustafsson is targeting a return to action on July 25 on the UFC’s widely discussed Fight Island. The frontrunners for his comeback fight, per the report, are former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum, and former interim light heavyweight title challenge Ovince Saint Preux.
Gustafsson last fought June of 2019, when he was submitted by Anthony Smith. After this submission loss, which occurred in his native Sweden, Gustafsson announced his decision to hang up the gloves.
The loss to Smith was preceded by a failed title bid opposite UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, a dominant knockout win over Glover Teixeira, and a decision win over Blachowicz. Gustafsson is known as one of the best light heavyweights in UFC history, but he’s never competed in the heavyweight division in the Octagon.
Fabricio Werdum, the favored foe for Gustafsson, last fought at UFC 249, returning from a lengthy hiatus induced by a tie-up with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. He lost his comeback fight, against Alexey Oleinik, by unanimous decision. Werdum ruled over the UFC heavyweight division in 2015 and 2016, winning the title with a submission of Cain Velasquez, and losing it via knockout to Stipe Miocic in his first title defense.
Ovince Saint Preux, finally, last fought in May, when he came up short against the veteran Ben Rothwell in his heavyweight debut. Saint Preux fought Jon Jones for the interim light heavyweight title in 2016, losing by decision.
The details of the UFC’s Fight Island, the planned setting of this Gustafsson comeback, are still hazy, but UFC boss Dana White says the mysterious venue will be ready by June 27.
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