By MMA Sucka
After winning a lopsided unanimous decision during his first UFC headlining gig at April 2012â€²s UFC on FUEL TV 2 in his own hometown of Stockholm, Sweden, it became obvious to fans everywhere that Alexander â€œThe Maulerâ€ Gustafsson (14-1) was ready for the MMA spotlight.
He recently said this about that night on MMASucka Radio, â€œFighting in front of friends and family was nerve wracking, but it was the best experience of my life.â€
Many believe it wonâ€™t be long now before the title talk reaches critical mass around this promising 25-year-old, who is currently riding a current five-fight UFC win-streak. But first, Gustafsson must defeat former PRIDE and UFC champion Mauricio â€œShogunâ€ Rua (21-6) in the co-main event at UFC on FOX 5, which airs live from Seattle, WA on Saturday, December 8, 2012.
Gustafsson shared these thoughts on this momentous fight:
â€œI am a fan of Shogun. Heâ€™s a former world champion and heâ€™s fought everybody, so heâ€™s a fighter I look up to and I like his fighting style. He really gives the fans a show. Before I started even in MMA I saw him in PRIDE ad in Youtube clips and stuff, so heâ€™s been around as long as Iâ€™ve been training and itâ€™s an honour for me to fight him.â€
When asked to comment on how the fight might unfold, the fierce fighter within this often unassuming Swede came to the surface, â€œI see myself winning by KO or TKO in the second round.â€
Rua is notoriously difficult to finish, having succumbed to strikes only once before, in a title fight with current divisional kingpin Jon Jones (17-1) at UFC 128. But it remains nonetheless plausible that Gustafsson, a volume puncher with a combination of accurate aggression, a seemingly endless gas tank, and a considerable reach advantage, might repeat that feat.
To help realize this dream, Gustafsson arrived stateside a full five weeks before fight day to conclude his camp at San Diego, CAâ€™s Alliance MMA, home to a host of potential training partners, including Brandon â€œThe Truthâ€ Vera (12-6), who faced Rua at UFC on FOX 4 in August 2012, losing via fourth-round TKO after a spirited brawl.
More on Gustafssonâ€™s trans-Atlantic training regimen: