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Alexander Gustafsson: “Chaos in my Head” Led to Premature Retirement

More than a few people were surprised when Alexander Gustasfsson [1] announced he was hanging up the gloves last summer. But, as ‘The Mauler’ gets set to battle Fabricio Werdum at UFC Fight Island 3 [2], he’s discussed what led to his premature retirement.

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Gustafsson says “chaos in my head” prompted retirement

The Swedish star and longtime, light-heavyweight contender announced he was retiring last July, after Gustafsson was submitted by Anthony Smith. Since Gustafsson had talked about retiring in the past, not everyone was blown away by the news.

But, because Gustafsson was only 32 at the time, and since he wasn’t far removed from challenging Jon Jones, the news turned heads.

Well, several months back, Gustafsson let it be known that he was getting the itch to fight again. Now, this Saturday, he’ll take on former heavyweight champ, Fabricio Werdum. 

While talking to the media ahead of the interesting match-up, Gustafsson was asked about his retirement. The fighter admitted that the gravity of the moment, following his loss to Smith, was behind his decision (quotes via MMA Fighting [3]).

“It was an emotional moment. Nothing else,” Gustafsson said. “I was just heartbroken. It was a tough fight. It was in Stockholm. It was against a guy I know I’ve got the tools to beat but I didn’t obviously.

“It was a tough night and my emotions and thoughts were just chaos in my head.”

“After a month or two at home about that. I then I want to go back to training and I can’t train without motivation so now I’m here.”

Fair enough. Although Gustafsson is still relatively wrong, especially for the heavier weight classes, it was a pivotal defeat. 

Gustafsson talks move to heavyweight

That said, now Gustafsson has an opportunity to make a big splash in his first fight at heavyweight. Although Werdum may not be the force he once was at this stage of his career, he remains a dangerous, big-name fighter.

“I felt it was the right time for me to move up one weight class,” Gustafsson explained. “Cause I’m pretty heavy, pretty big. I felt really good to step up one weight class and try out the heavyweight division.

“Then I got the fight with Werdum and this is something that fits me very well and I’m very excited about. I’m just stronger. I’m stronger than I usually was in light heavyweight.”

It will be interesting to see how Gustafsson looks at heavyweight, and whether he can score a win against ‘Vai Cavalo’. Werdum is currently ranked #14 in the heavyweight division.

The question is, however, what if Gustafsson loses? Will he continue to fight? Will he return to 205 pounds?