Alexander Gustafsson is officially set for his first title match against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 165, and the 26-year-old is acutely aware that he is in for the fight of his life.
“I see the greatest test in my career,” Gustafsson said at a press conference for the event Tuesday. “He’s the champion for a reason. I’m so ready for this fight. I’m very motivated.”
He’s also well-prepared. Gustafsson (16-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) is coming off of six-fight win streak, claiming his most recent victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz in December 2012. His only loss in his nearly six-year MMA career was to Phil Davis at UFC 112 in April 2010. Gustafsson is ranked the #2 light heavyweight contender in the world by the promotion.
Jones became the youngest champion in UFC history in 2011 at 24 years old, when he defeated “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128.
Now 25, Jones boasts a nearly flawless record at 18-1, with 13 of those fights in the UFC. His only loss was to Matt Hamill at The Ultimate Fighter 10 finale in 2009, where he was disqualified for illegal elbows.
Gustafsson said of his fight against Jones, “I’m so pumped for this fight. He’s a complete fighter. He’s the champion. I have to be aware of everything he throws.”
UFC 165 will also feature the interim bantamweight championship fight between current titeholder Renan Barão and Eddie Wineland. The event has been scheduled for September 21 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
UFC president Dana White is also looking forward to the fight between Jones and Gustafsson.
“Jon Jones is re-writing the record book for the light heavyweight division,” White said. “He is one of the pound-for-pound best in the world with a record-tying five straight title defenses by age 25. This bout with Gustafsson is an awesome fight. Alex is a big man plus he’s mean and hungry – and excited for the opportunity to fight Jones.”