The Swedish UFC light heavyweight fighter Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson stands at 6'5" and weighs in at 205lbs. The 25 year old boasts a record of 14-1 and is on a 5 fight win streak.
He has the height to match current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones who stands at 6’4”. With his improving stand up game, there is a possibility that the young Swede may be able to give Jones fits. Jones has never fought anyone near his height and in this case actually taller them himself. He's never fought someone with a height advantage and the ability to strike. Without Jones having been able to demonstrate KO power, there is a possibility that he may not be able to overpower Gustafsson standing up.
But there is one area where Gustafsson has not been able to completely prove himself. This would be his take down defense. Jones' ability to shoot for a takedown from a distance (demonstrated on Ryan Bader), do a double leg while his opponent is on the fence (used against Lyoto Machida) and takedown almost all of his opponents from the clinch can pose some problems for Gustafsson. And although he has won three of his fights by submission, there hasn't been enough evidence shown to say he is good enough on his back to thwart off Jones' seemingly unstoppable elbows from the top position.
The young fighter still has a lot of time to improve. With the hard work and dedication, he may get there. When asked about the possibility of becoming one of the fighters to take on the winner of Jones/Henderson he says:
“It feels good, but honesty I don’t like talking about that. All my focus is now on Shogun. I always have the same mind set before a fight: to win every fight and take the belt home to Sweden.”
So while we wait for the possible future match up, Gustafsson has a huge hurdle to jump in former champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Rua defeated his Alliance team member Brandon Vera on UFC on FOX 4 on August 4. Gustafsson will meet Rua in the Octagon on December 8, 2012.
Gustafsson states that:
“[Shogun] is one tough opponent, a very good striker. He is a walking legend. They offered me Shogun and I didn’t need time to think, I said ‘yes’ right away. Now I need time to train and work on my game-plan.”
The event will be part of UFC on FOX 5. It will be headlined with a lightweight championship fight between Ben Henderson and Nate Diaz. Rounding off the main card will be BJ Penn taking on Rory MacDonald and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua fighting Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson. No location or venue has been confirmed. [Studio MMA]