BY KHURRAM AZIZ
UFC light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson has laid out his blueprint for victory in what he says will be his toughest fight ever.
In an interview with MMA Fighting, the Swede revealed that his game plan against Shogun Rua will be similar to the one he implemented with devastating effect against Thiago Silva in his last match.
“I will try to stay on the outside and try to use my range and my footwork,â€ said Gustafsson. “You never know in a fight. Sometimes, you have to do things differently, take the initiative and adapt. It’s going to be a great fight for the fans. That’s for sure.”
Gustafsson and Rua will meet at UFC on Fox 5 in Seattle on December 8, 2012.
The match is crucial for both men as they seek a shot at Jon Jones’ title.
Rua is coming off a hard-earned win against Brandon Vera in a match that has put him back in the reckoning for the title he lost to Jones in 2011.
But for Gustafsson, a win will be a high point in a short but impressive career.
Gustafsson has won five straight fights in the unpredictable light heavyweight division, and many believe he is one of the only light heavyweights with the striking talent and range to seriously challenge Jones.
However, the fighter says for now his focus is not on the champion, but on Rua.
“I want to fight the champion. That’s my main goal: to bring the belt back to Sweden. That’s what I want to do, but I never look past any opponent,â€ said Gustafsson. â€œWhen I beat ‘Shogun,’ I will be more than prepared to fight for a title. That’s what I want to do.”
A win against Rua doesnâ€™t guarantee the Swede a title shot, however. If Jones gets passed Chael Sonnen in his next fight, both Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson are waiting in the wings. Thatâ€™s not to forget Phil Davies, who also recently sealed an impressive win.