In the main event of UFC Stockholm, Alexander Gustafsson will return to the Octagon to take on Anthony Smith. The two of them are both coming off losses to Jon Jones for the belt. Gustafsson was finished by Jones while Smith went the distance. However, for the Swede, he knows it was just a bad performance for him.
“It was a really bad performance that I did, and I just, I wasn’t myself really,” Gustafsson said (via MMA Fighting). “I just went in there and I tried to stick to the gameplan and everything. But no, he just found a way very early to neutralize my game and he put me away strong.
“I just hate to lose, but it’s a sport and Jon is the best guy out there, I don’t know. I think I could’ve done much better, but it is what it is, and I just take it as a man. It’s a sport, and even if I had my third title shot and I lost the third one, I’m still not feeling bad about it or anything like that. Life moves on, I have a family at home, so I’m just [going to] keep doing what I’m doing and take the next fight and the next fight after that, and start from scratch a little bit.”
Part of the reason why he struggled was the fact that Jones hit him in the groin early on. Gustafsson believes that illegal strike hindered his performance against the champ.
“I just didn’t perform like I used to,” Gustafsson said. “I didn’t have the footwork going. And I have no excuses, it’s not that. It’s just like, after when he got me with that knee, I couldn’t really find the rhythm again. I just, I couldn’t move like I did before. I just had a lot of pain after that, and I’ve never had that type of pain in my career before in a fight. Of course, you have pain, you get shots from everywhere and you get back, you just keep pushing. But he just stopped me right there. I tried to move, work it with my footwork, try to kick him or attack, be explosive. But none of that worked. I just couldn’t with my groin.
“So that’s basically it, and he took me down. Nobody can hold me down. Nobody can hold me down. Not DC, not Jon. Nobody. When he took me down there and when he finished me, I couldn’t move because of my groin. He just passed, he just went to half guard and just went up and did the crucifix stuff on me — and nobody does that to me. I wasn’t 100 percent. I just felt that I had so much pain in my groin that I couldn’t really get back into my rhythm again. And with that said, I don’t use this as an excuse or anything like that. He did what he had to do to beat me, and Jon is the best guy out there, so I don’t feel like I’m thinking about that loss nowadays. It is what it is and I just move forward now.”
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