UFC light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson (pictured) claims his recent decision to leave the talented Alliance MMA team in San Diego, California was driven primarily by his desire to be closer to his family in Sweden.
“It’s time to come home,” Gustafsson told Swedish website aftonbladet.se (via Google translate). “Now I’m in that stage of my career that I will compete three or four times a year so I cannot hold on and go off all the time. It costs too much and it takes too much time away from my family. It’s simply not worth it.
“I might as well get used to having the whole training camps here in Sweden and create the routine here. Now I am in a position that I can fly in the quality sparring partners I personally want, something I was not able to do before. It will help develop myself even more.”
However, examining the situation closer leads one to believe the transition back to his homeland may have more to do with avenging the first blemish on his résumé than being home sick.
Phil Davis, who has been a longtime member of Alliance MMA, helped Gustafsson prepare for last month’s title fight against reigning 205-pound champ Jon Jones. Davis is also the first man to post an L on Gustafsson’s record with a submission victory back in April 2010 at UFC 112.
With an immediate rematch against Jones now off the table, a sequel with Davis seems to be the most logical move. The UFC’s other top 10 light heavyweights are currently injured or have already been issued their next assignments, expect for Davis.
Since they are no longer teammates and both are hungry for a crack at the crown, the matchup makes perfect sense. In fact, it appears Gustafsson has already mentally prepared himself for the eventuality by endorsing the ‘belts before bros’ mentality.
“We do not train with each other as much anymore,” Gustafsson said of his scarce time with Davis. “We’re both at the top of the division and it’s not a difficult guess that we’ll meet again soon. It’s not a dream opponent because we are friends, but the UFC decides if we should meet. So, it feels better to not train together right now.”