Gustafsson’s legacy extra than simply being a bridesmaid and by no means a bride

6:57 PM ET

Marc RaimondiESPN

Alexander Gustafsson was requested Saturday what his legacy could be within the UFC. Gustafsson, Sweden’s favourite MMA son, introduced his retirement at UFC Stockholm following a fourth-round submission loss to Anthony Smith.

“I simply attempt to be what I’m,” Gustafsson stated. “I wish to step into the Octagon and simply present what I am product of. I’ve by no means been a talker. I’ve by no means been an excellent salesman in terms of promoting fights. I do my speaking after I get within the cage and I simply had enjoyable doing it.”

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Basic “Mauler.” Nothing flashy or bombastic. No daring proclamations or delusions of grandeur. That is how Gustafsson’s 10-year profession went within the UFC. He was stable, constant and acquired the job executed extra instances than not. Even in defeat, Gustafsson was stalwart.

Gustafsson will go down as among the best mild heavyweight fighters in UFC historical past. He fought thrice for the title, dropping twice to Jon Jones and as soon as to Daniel Cormier.

Gustafsson’s first battle with Jones, at UFC 165 in 2013, was among the best fights ever in MMA and the best problem of Jones’ profession. “Bones,” arguably the best UFC champion of all time, was pushed to the very brink, and a few nonetheless really feel Gustafsson ought to have gained that bout by resolution. Towards Cormier at UFC 192 in 2015, Gustafsson was equally as powerful, almost escaping with a choice victory then, too.

The numbers again up simply how good he was and the way shut he got here to changing into champion. Based on ESPN Stats & Info, Gustafsson is the one fighter in UFC historical past to land greater than 100 strikes in two title fights and lose each. He landed 110 strikes on Jones at UFC 165 and 120 on Cormier at UFC 192.

Gustafsson beat nearly everybody else within the mild heavyweight division, except for Phil Davis and Anthony Johnson, the latter knocking him out in entrance of his hometown followers in Stockholm in 2015.

Gustafsson’s UFC report will stand at 10-6 and he persistently fought top-five opponents within the division. He stated on the UFC Stockholm postfight present that the factor he’ll miss most about MMA is profitable.

Alexander Gustafsson, proper, completed his UFC profession with a 10-6 report, frequently going through the stiffest competitors within the mild heavyweight division. Per Haljestam/USA TODAY Sports activities

“That feeling of getting your hand raised,” Gustafsson stated. “It is laborious to clarify with phrases, you need to do it to know the sensation of a ‘W.’ That is what drives me. … Being there and [winning], you are the king of the world. No one can cease you. It would not matter what test you get in your hand, it would not matter what folks say or speak. It is you and you are the f—ing king of the world whenever you’re standing there.”

And if Gustafsson wasn’t going to be an elite fighter within the 205-pound division, as he had been for the higher a part of a decade, he did not wish to proceed his profession.

“It seems like I haven’t got it in me anymore, to be trustworthy,” Gustafsson stated. “It seems like I do errors that I should not so. I simply have the sensation; it is the time now. I do not need be a journeyman, I do not wish to do that as a result of I am getting paid. I simply wish to do that as a result of I adore it and I wish to be on the prime.”

Maybe equal to something Gustafsson did contained in the Octagon was his worth to the UFC as a pioneer in Sweden and Europe, typically. Gustafsson headlined the promotion’s first occasion in Stockholm towards Thiago Silva, which aired on Gasoline TV in April 2012. On the time, it was the fastest-selling UFC European occasion, promoting out in three hours. The attendance ended up being 15,428.

From 2012 to 2019, over the span of 10 fights, Gustafsson was both the primary occasion (eight instances) or co-main occasion (twice). He headlined 4 of the UFC’s six journeys to Sweden. In whole, these occasions, together with Saturday’s at Ericsson Globe, drew $9.25 million in ticket income.

Gustafsson additionally headlined occasions in Germany and England. His absence will depart a significant void for the UFC in Europe.

Gustafsson stated he’ll now concentrate on his household. He proposed within the cage to his then-fiancée, Moa Antonia Johansson, after his Might 2017 knockout win over Glover Teixeira in Stockholm. The couple has two youngsters now, a son and daughter. Gustafsson stated his life is “wealthy” and he has different issues to do, together with working on the health club he owns in Stockholm.

“It seems like my life is rather more than preventing within the Octagon,” Gustafsson stated.

“The Mauler” stated he knew his time was about up in December when he misplaced for a second time to Jones, a person with whom he might be linked in MMA perpetually. To Jones, Gustafsson was type of like a wealthy man’s George Chuvalo, the foe Muhammad Ali referred to as the hardest he ever fought. Jones tweeted about Gustafsson’s retirement Saturday.

Truthfully I do not imagine you however in the event you’re critical, thanks for all the things. You held the division to an ordinary and made us higher. Go kick ass with that Household.

— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) June 1, 2019

“You held the division to an ordinary and made us higher,” Jones wrote.

Gustafsson did. With out his excellence, the stardom of Jones and Cormier won’t be as robust. The UFC won’t be as a lot of a pressure in Europe. Gustafsson’s presence has left an imprint on the game, far better than simply being the man who stored coming in second place.

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