Is fighting a former UFC light heavyweight champion the next best thing to facing the division’s reigning king?
Well, Alexander Gustafsson (Pictured) thought he earned his top contender stripes Saturday by steamrolling prior title holder Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but it appears “The Mauler” may have to prove his mettle once more against another past champ.
“If I was [Gustafsson], I’d want to get another fight in before taking on Jon Jones,” UFC president Dana White said on FUEL TV’s post-fight show. “He could fight again. I’m hearing Dan Henderson’s knee isn’t better, so maybe Gustafsson should fight [Lyoto] Machida next.”
Henderson and Machida have long been rumored for a tango. However, an official fight date still has yet to be announced. Although White previously professed the winner of last night’s shootout would get next dibs at the 205-pound crown, Gustafsson appears content with having to take another bout in the interim.
It doesn’t help that current champion Jon Jones isn’t scheduled to defend his throne against Chael Sonnen until April 27th.
“I want to stay active and I want to fight,” said Gustafsson at the post-fight press conference. “I’ll fight whenever. I was away for a long time. The last time I fought was in April, and that was too long. To wait till summer again, that would be too long.
“I want to fight for the belt, and if they give me one before that, it doesn’t matter. I’ll fight whoever the UFC gives me. All I can say is, I’m a ready for a title shot – whoever has the belt. When I get a chance to fight for the title, I’ll be more than ready for it.”
Gustafsson boasts an impressive 15-1 professional record and has rattled off six straight wins.