Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Thank You Gus.

On Saturday, one of the greatest MMA fighters to not hold a belt, retired from the sport. After losing via submission in the fourth round to Anthony Smith, Alexander Gustafsson announced, first in the Octagon and then again later in his post-fight press conference, that he would be retiring from mixed martial arts – symbolically laying his gloves down in the cage.

‘The Mauler’ should go down in MMA history, producing two of the greatest title fights in the UFC, against Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Though in the record books he came up short on both occasions, debates rage to this day as to whether or not he actually lost either fight. Gustafsson was almost the last of the ‘old guard’ in the Light Heavyweight division (other than Jones himself), with a mix of new contenders beginning to come to the fore. He seems to have been against becoming a ‘gatekeeper’, a la Frankie Edgar.

In a pre-fight interview, Gustafsson admitted that he might not have what it takes anymore, perhaps lacking the love and enthusiasm for stepping in against contenders like Smith, when he has already climbed that mountain and fallen down three times before. If that is the case, it’s completely understandable, and in it’s own right, impressive. We often see fighters push themselves way too far, for that one last payday, or to recreate the adrenaline rush. Gustafsson has struggled with injuries going back six years, limiting to just seven fights in that period, it’s clear that his body is ready for a break.

The Gus Memories

Gustafsson will leave the sport, and it’s fans, with some incredible memories. His first fight against Jon Jones is still, to this day, one of my favourites of all time. Two great fighters, in their prime, showing exactly how thrilling an MMA fight can be even when it goes to a decision.

His fight against DC followed a very similar pattern, producing yet another Hall of Fame worthy performance, and leaving an impression on the fans that would have us clamouring for more, desperate for his return to the top of the division, for five years.

Not to forget his highlight reel knockout of Glover Texeria in 2017, perhaps the greatest version of Gus we’ve ever seen inside the Octagon. The smooth delivery of three quick uppercuts, before slipping the punch, and calmly delivering the final blow to knock his opponent down – one of my favourite knockout sequences of all time.

After this, he proposed to his long term girlfriend, in the middle of the Octagon, in his hometown – it’s a memory that he will likely treasure for the rest of his life.

That is the Gus that we should remember, the wrecking ball who could put away anyone in the division, and the man that gave Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier their toughest tests. He may not have won the title, but he is most certainly a legend.

Thank you, Gus.

For more news and opinions from the world of MMA and boxing, visit our combat sports page here. Meanwhile, follow us on Facebook for more opinions and analysis right to your timeline.

Similar Articles



A Review Of The NFL Divisional Round

The NFL Divisional Round is complete. In the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Kansas...

What’s with the Bristol City injury crisis?

Over the past few years, Bristol City have always seemed to pick up injuries...

Why Mesut Özil is an Arsenal Legend

After almost 8 years in North London, Mesut Özil has parted ways with Arsenal...

NFL Divisional Round Preview

The NFL Divisional Round gets underway tomorrow evening. Four of the eight teams left will...

Danny Ings: A Heartwarming Story

Danny Ings has scored 7 goals in the Premier League this season. He was...

Super Wildcard Weekend Review

Super Wildcard Weekend is over. After six games across the past two days, we...

Rob Holding Signs a New Deal at Arsenal

Following rumours that a new contract for Rob Holding was imminent, The Athletic have...

Are Manchester City Back?

Manchester City reached the League Cup final last week, after beating local rivals Manchester...

NFL Wildcard Round Preview

The NFL playoffs are here. Just fourteen teams remain. For the first time in NFL...

Rugby Union’s Best? Team of the Year 2020: Back Row and Half Backs

When I sat down to begin work on this series of posts, I anticipated...