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UFC Stockholm: Gustafsson vs Smith - Jun 1 🇸🇪


Who wins and how?   

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Yeah Leonardo Santos one punched Stevie Ray in a round. 

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And this was after a near 3 year layoff which made it even more impressive. 

Santos is a weird case. He’s 39 years old now, 17-3-1, hasn’t lost in a decade, TUF winner, high level BJJ black-belt and world champion, stopped Kevin Lee before it became cool. He’s a real darkhorse for me but everyone understandably forgot him because he disappeared for 3 years. Hopefully he sticks around now. At 39 he’s could do with making up for lost time. 

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Gustafsson is the MMA equivalent to Ken Norton really. If he'd been active in any other era that didn't involve Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier he'd have been champion a few times over by now most likely.

I remember him bouncing around the UK scene back in the day and with him hitting his 30's I didn't see him making it to the big show. He did though.  I remember thinking that he'd likely run into

Yeah Leonardo Santos one punched Stevie Ray in a round.  And this was after a near 3 year layoff which made it even more impressive.  Santos is a weird case. He’s 39 years old now, 17-3

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id forgotten all about Santos, big win over Stevie Ray.

Any word post fight on Manuwa? wouldnt be surprised if he calls it a day now, getting up there in age and hes been on the end of some bad KO's.

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I've seen nothing on Manuwa since the fight, so I assume he's fine. 

The reaction from both Cormier and Jones to Gustafsson's retirement only serves to highlight how highly he was thought of, with Jones saying "Honestly I don’t believe you but if you’re serious, thank you for everything. You held the division to a standard and made us better. Go kick ass with that Family," and DC saying “Alex, you will forever be one of the biggest players in my journey,”  

“We’ve agreed, we have argued and bickered, but ultimately you made me better. You made the sport better. You are a warrior and will be truly missed!

“I understand the motivation changes and for you it is now your family. I say now you’re starting to really live the good life. Congrats on a great career my man! You’re a hammer! See you around.”

It doesn't get much higher than that as far as praise goes, so best of luck to him.

I also see that Nick Hein has retired following his loss.

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9 hours ago, David said:

Gustafsson is the MMA equivalent to Ken Norton really. If he'd been active in any other era that didn't involve Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier he'd have been champion a few times over by now most likely.

Would he? He got flat lined by Rumble, out grappled comprehensively by Davis and now finished by Smith. Yes he went to hell and back with Jones and Cormier but what are his best wins? Manuwa, Glover and the ghost of Shogun? 

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16 minutes ago, Marshmallo said:

Would he? He got flat lined by Rumble, out grappled comprehensively by Davis and now finished by Smith. Yes he went to hell and back with Jones and Cormier but what are his best wins? Manuwa, Glover and the ghost of Shogun? 

That's why I said that he'd be champion a few times over rather than being a long--term champion who dominates in the division. He'd have both won and lost the strap to various contenders if he was facing anyone not called Jones or Cormier.

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It's hard to pinpoint how well Gusty would have done in the previous era. 

For starters, he might have been a heavyweight in the mid-2000s. The divisions have got bigger as the years have rolled along. A lot of great fighters from yesteryear would fight in a lighter division if they competed today. Bas Rutten, for example, would probably be a middleweight today.

Obviously, if Gusty did fight in Pride's Middleweight division or the UFC's Light-Heavyweight class, he would often carry a decent size advantage. I can only think of Forrest Griffin who would be of similar stature to him. Perhaps Rampage and Liddell as well. He would dwarf the likes of Wanderlei, Rashad, Machida, Hendo, Belfort, Moose, Overeem (pre-2007 version) Franklin and others. 

Of course, size is not everything. Rashad was able to overcome a size disadvantage and grapplefuck Davis, the same fighter that handed Gusty his first loss in MMA. But I suspect that Gusty would, at some point, have put together a decent run and won a title. The UFCs Light Heavyweight title was a bit of a hot potato before the Jones era begun. It stands to reason that a fighter of Gusty's quality would have had a turn. 

 

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And it’s not inconceivable that he’d have beat Rumble or Davis or whoever in rematches. I mean the Davis fight in particular, you’re going back to 2010 for that example. Gus was very early into his UFC career at that point. He improved a lot between then and the war with Jones just 3 years later. His grappling alone had come on leaps and bounds when you see how Davis completely ragdolled and choked him out in 2010. To then in 2013 when Gus is the first man to take Jones down, and multiple times. His striking got better as well, his boxing was always good but his footwork and movement came on to the point where he was legitimately looking like a giant Dominick Cruz at times. He was a fantastic fighter at his best. Like David says, there were a few points where had Jones and DC not been around, you’d have to have Gus as the frontrunner to hold the belt. Fuck, even though they were around, he came within a whisker of beating both. 

Chael reckons Gus might have some injury issues plaguing him which might be a factor in his decision to retire. He speculated a reoccurring back or rib injury. Sounds plausible as Gus has missed big chunks of the last few years to injury. If he’s got problems that are making putting 100% into training more of a chore, then you add in his priorities changing now he’s a dad, and now his tricky situation in the division into the mix (0-2 to Jones, now a loss to Smith etc), you can see why he’s made this choice. 

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Makes sense, really 39 years old, four losses on the bounce, probably best to call it a day. 

Saw on his record that all except two of his matches ever went the distance, and those two were both matches with Jan Blachowicz. 

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I remember him bouncing around the UK scene back in the day and with him hitting his 30's I didn't see him making it to the big show. He did though. 

I remember thinking that he'd likely run into real problems against wrestlers and probably wouldn't last long. He then went on a three fight tear, losing only to Gustafsson and Rumble initially.

I remember thinking that when he lost to Rumble at the age of 35 that he was probably done. He then proceeded to go on a two-fight run over OSP and Corey Anderson.

It's safe to say that he's an overachiever in MMA, and that isn't meant to downplay Jimi, he's a hell of an athlete and a tough guy, but most fighters who haven't had a sniff at the UFC by the time they reach 30, and who hadn't even competed professionally until they were 28 aren't making waves of any kind.

He not only made waves, he went on to headline two UFC London shows and I may be mistaken but I think he cracked the top ten in the 205lbs division at one point too.

He's had a losing end to his run as a lot of fighters do, but I'll remember him for the facts mentioned above. A dude who really wasn't supposed to make it this far, but who did through hard work and self-belief. A credit to British MMA.

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