Alexander Gustafsson is widely considered to be one of the best fighters in the UFC right now, no matter what weight class, but there was a time several months back that everybody thought his time in MMA was coming to an end.
Gustafsson, who just returned to action with a unanimous decision win over Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 93, spoke to The MMA Hour about the hard road back after losses to UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier and top contender Anthony Johnson last year.
"It was just one of those things, when you lose -- I don't even think I actually said ‘retiring.' I just came from a loss, I was really close to finishing [Cormier] and close to a win, and I was just pissed…I just lost a fight so I was really pissed, and maybe I said something about, like, maybe I wanted to take a break or something like that. Never retire. And you know, you say something, and something else comes out from the media. So it is what it is, but I never considered retiring and it wouldn't happen, because it's just one of those things you can't just say, because it's so much harder to really do it. This is what I do. This is what I am good at. It's nothing that you just quit one day, so I wasn't even close to retiring” said Gustafsson.
Gustafsson also talked about the tough road back to competition, the road lead to his big win at UFC Fight Night 93.
"It's been a tough year for me. Everybody knows that," Gustafsson admitted. "I got stopped here in Stockholm against Anthony Johnson, and then I had a split (decision) against DC. So I had some pressure on (me), and I just knew that however this fight goes, I have to win it no matter what. I don't care if I win on submission, knockout, or decision. I just needed a win to start from scratch and start with something good, with a win. Nothing else was accepted at all. I just needed that flow, that good feeling, winning and getting that flow in. You feel good fighting, you feel that you're winning rounds -- it's a special feeling you're looking for and I felt it in this last fight. My confidence was there and I just felt calm during the whole fight. I could do this for like 10 rounds. My conditioning was there and my strength."
Gustafsson, after the win over Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 93, then discussed what his hopes to achieve as his MMA career advances.
"I feel confident. I feel like I'm back on track," Gustafsson said. "It was a good fight with Blachowicz, but I'm at the gym training and I just want to be getting my distance in and working on everything to become just a better fighter and get ready for whatever is next. I have to be prepared, and I don't want to wait a year again. I'm ready to go whenever. I'm training right now, and no injuries, nothing, so I'm very excited to see what's next actually. I haven't heard anything yet, anything new, so I'm just waiting here and let's see what happens."