How do you know if it’s the end of your fighting career?
Some call it quits while they are still on top of the world like Georges St-Pierre, who recently retired from mixed martial arts, capping his stint with an impressive 13-fight winning streak.
Others would leave the sport when losses pile up, though BJ Penn continues to prove his worth despite an ugly six-bout losing slide.
For the light heavyweight contender, Alexander Gustafsson, it is the latter.
“The Mauler” knows another loss in his near-10 year UFC career could indicate that it is time to hang up his gloves.
Following an emphatic defeat to rival Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 232, Gustafsson has a chance to redeem himself as he is slated to take on Anthony Smith this June, in a bid to move up to the 205-pound rankings.
He will be the clear odds on favourite in this matchup, but he said that an upset might force him to finally call it a career.
— Fightful MMA & Boxing (@FightfulMMA) March 10, 2019
Alexander Gustafsson failed to avenge his heartbreaking loss suffered five years ago as Jon Jones came out on top in their long-awaited rematch, which served as the headlining fight of the UFC 232 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Unlike their first meeting, the Jones vs Gustafsson II did not go the distance as “Bones” pulled off a technical knockout win in just the third round to recapture the UFC light heavyweight championship.
Gustafsson was very disappointed with the outcome of what he considered as the biggest fight in his life.
“I’m disappointed. I’m very disappointed but it’s a sport, it’s a fight. We did our best in the Octagon and this was the outcome so I have to take it like a man. Jon knew exactly how to stop my footwork, to stop my movement, my flow, my distance. He just made sure I could not move anymore. And that’s it. He took me down and I could not get up.”
He has been rumoured to change weight class after another loss to Jones, but no move will happen as he is booked to fight ‘Lionheart’ in the main event of UFC Stockholm.
Gustafsson and Anthony Smith have earned another shot, but this time, it is not at the light-heavyweight title but at redemption as they are slated to redeem themselves at UFC on ESPN+ 10 this June, following their loss to reigning champion Jon Jones.
Both light heavyweights will try to get back on winning track after absorbing an emphatic defeat to ‘Bones’ at UFC 232 and UFC 234 respectively.
Smith survived the Jones’ onslaught in five rounds but was not enough to win the scorecards as he was defeated via unanimous decision.
Winning against Smith would not only steer him back on winning track but also in the title discussion.
However, a loss might mean that he can no longer compete at an elite level, which could send him to retirement.
“He’s a big hitter and he has a lot of heart and he has a lot of fights behind him,” he told The MMA Hour.
“He’s a guy with a good team behind him, and this is going to be a real challenge.”
“And that’s why I’m doing this, to challenge myself. When I beat him, I’m going to just move in the rankings.”
“If I don’t beat him, if he beats me, then maybe I don’t have it anymore. So I’ll just take it from there.”
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith)