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Alexander Gustafsson Outlines How Injury Played Key Role in Second Loss to Jon Jones

Alexander Gustafsson's second bout with Jon Jones was fair less competitive than their first, but "The Mauler" says an injury he incurred was a big reason why.

After Alexander Gustafsson was stopped by Jon Jones in their long-awaited rematch last December, it was revealed “The Mauler” had incurred a groin injury in the contest. But, more recently the Swedish light-heavyweight detailed how the injury impacted his performance.

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Gustafsson faced Jones in the headliner of UFC 232, and the fight was stopped in round three, as the champ fired down ground-and-pound strikes. It was a far different outcome from their epic, 2013 fight, which saw Jones win a tightly contested decision.

Well, fast forward to today, and Gustafsson is booked to fight Anthony Smith next Saturday at UFC Stockholm. Recently the perennial contender appeared on “The MMA Hour”, and Gustafsson discussed how an accidental knee he took in the groin at UFC 232, played a role in his defeat (quotes via MMA Fighting):

“I just didn’t perform like I used to,” Gustafsson said. “I didn’t have the footwork going. And I have no excuses, it’s not that. It’s just like, after when he got me with that knee, I couldn’t really find the rhythm again. I just, I couldn’t move like I did before. I just had a lot of pain after that, and I’ve never had that type of pain in my career before in a fight. Of course, you have pain, you get shots from everywhere and you get back, you just keep pushing. But he just stopped me right there, and I tried to move, work it with my footwork, try to kick him or attack, be explosive. But none of that worked. I just couldn’t with my groin.

“So that’s basically it, and he took me down. Nobody can hold me down. Nobody can hold me down. Not DC, not Jon. Nobody. When he took me down there and when he finished me, I couldn’t move because of my groin. He just passed, he just went to half guard and just went up and did the crucifix stuff on me — and nobody does that to me. I wasn’t 100 percent. I just felt that I had so much pain in my groin that I couldn’t really get back into my rhythm again. And with that said, I don’t use this as an excuse or anything like that. He did what he had to do to beat me, and Jon is the best guy out there, so I don’t feel like I’m thinking about that loss nowadays. It is what it is and I just move forward now.”

Jones’ boosters may argue that Gustafsson is just offering excuses here, and it is true that injuries are part of the game. But, it did seem like something was wrong with Gustafsson during the bout, and now we know more about how the injury impacted the fight.

Jones, meanwhile, is scheduled to face feared striker Thiago Santos at UFC 239, July 6th.

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