Gustafsson ready to fill in at UFC 214, wants ‘worthy champion’ Cormier to beat Jones
STOCKHOLM – Alexander Gustafsson “of course” believes he’s done enough to earn a light heavyweight title shot after dispatching Glover Teixeira at UFC Fight Night 109.
Gustafsson (18-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC), who won his second straight against Teixeira (26-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC), also said “I’m here” when asked if he’d step in if champ Daniel Cormier or ex-champ Jon Jones can’t make it to UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, Calif.
And when will Gustafsson know his plans?
“When they call me,” he said with a smile at the post-fight press conference for Sunday’s FS1-televised event at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm.
So it’s simple, at least in theory. Then there’s the ever-evolving variables that go into getting a shot. One is approval from the bosses.
That’s something Gustafsson might already have. Asked whether a mid-presser phone call was UFC President Dana White, telling him he’s got next, Gustafssson was coy.
“I won’t tell you,” Gustafsson said with another smile.
But then there are other factors, as well. Whether or not Gustafsson plays injury replacement or waits for Jones and Cormier to settle their grudge at UFC 214, he does have one demand as he embarks on his third quest to win the light heavyweight title.
Jimi Manuwa, who’s already been tabbed as the backup fighter should Jones and Cormier not fight, won’t be a final hurdle for Gustafsson to pass before he tries again.
“Well, first of all, my friend, I’ll never fight Jimi Manuwa,” he told MMAjunkie. “We’re good friends; we’re good training partners. We develop each other in training. We do this together.”
“We just have to communicate, see who wins the sparring,” he added. “Nah, just joking. We’ll see what happens. We do this together.”
So there are some things to work out. But Gustafsson is no stranger to waiting when it comes to title opportunities. He spent a considerable amount of time in 2014 waiting for Jones to accept a…