Ahead of his UFC 165 title bout with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, No. 1 contender Alexander Gustafsson is looking for inspiration wherever he can find it. Luckily for him, it's been a bad year for champions labeled 'unbeatable.'
"Absolutely, I take inspiration from what Chris Weidman did against Anderson," Gustafsson tells Fighters Only magazine. "This could be the year when a lot of title belts change hands. This is a totally different fight, of course, but Weidman proved that nobody is invincible. Hendricks versus GSP is also a good fight that could end with a new champion too."
Technically not undefeated, Jones' lone loss stems from a 2009 disqualification after illegal elbow strikes left a battered and bruised Matt Hamill unable to continue. Since then, only former champion Rashad Evans has managed to survive five rounds with 'Bones.' Undeterred, Gustafsson hasn't let the stage overwhelm him. "I'm actually enjoying every second of it," says Gustafsson. "There is no pressure on me at all. I know that I will take that belt. I have everything to gain by this fight. Knowing that I have so many people from so many countries supporting me and wanting me to win lifts me. For an elite athlete the fans are everything. Knowing about that overwhelming support just lifts me more and more."
Regardless of next week's result, Gustafsson knows his legacy won't be made or lost by a single fight. "I still feel like I am at the beginning of my career, I've got plenty of years in front of me. But I want to be the number one guy, I want to be the champion. And the only way to become the best is to beat the current champion, and that's what I am preparing to do."
7 MUST-READ STORIES
Oscar in rehab. Having battled drugs and alcohol in the past, former boxing superstar turned promoter Oscar De La Hoya has again entered a treatment facility. "Canelo Alvarez and I have big fights coming up this weekend. His is the ring and mine in treatment. will not be at the fight this Saturday to cheer Canelo to victory since I have voluntarily admitted myself into a treatment facility."
The incomparable Jon Jones. Although UFC has heavily marketed Alexander Gustafsson as having the measurables to match Jon Jones, the champion feels the pair couldn't be more dissimilar. "I've been able to study him a lot over the last several months, and I realized there's absolutely nothing he does that's like me."
More Mayhem. After being arrested for a third time in as many months, Jason Miller was charged with another 'contempt of court' misdemeanor.
Overeem almost over? Often accused of appearing over confident, Alistair Overeem says a loss to Frank Mir could send him looking for a new line of work. "If I lose to him and that's three in a row, then I'd better start doing something else, right?"
Keeping up with the Bourdains. Ottavia Bourdain sets out to transform her famed traveler and eater husband into a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.
Matt Kaplowitz' short documentary shows how some of New York's biggest MMA personalities remember 9/11.
Some pretty interesting stuff came out of this recent poll conducted by ESPN the Magazine. Everything from opinions on a fighters' union to how ofter their opponents suffered mid-fight bowel movements.
UFC 165 conference call audio.
Cro Cop open training in Moscow.
Jack Slack with a great technique breakdown of striking angles and level changing.
Eugene S. Robinson hits us with all the truth we can handle in this week's Knuckle Up.
Super Fight League 24. If you missed the sound of vuvuzelas, you're in luck.
He couldn't get a bigger picture?
So motivated right now 2 moore weeks!!!!! http://t.co/3Sbdq6qirV— Alexander Gustafsson (@AlexTheMauler) September 7, 2013
The ladies are packing heat.
Jessica Penne (@JessicaPenne) September 10, 2013
@QoSBaszler I got a 9mm Smith & Wesson :)— Jessica Penne (@JessicaPenne) September 10, 2013
Conor doing his homework
Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) September 10, 2013
Where was he last week when I needed one more guy in the league?
Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) September 10, 2013
If I were a stripper this would be my name. "Texas Rain" pic.twitter.com/tfbCbH4cZ2— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) September 10, 2013
Happy birthday, Bobby!
Thank u all for the birthday wishes Im blown away that u guys even knew I was trying to forget it don't need a reminder that I'm getting old— Bobby King Green (@BobbyKGreen) September 11, 2013
Science & technology clearly on Andrei's side.
Kyle, helping to be ready for my next fight, September 14th http://t.co/1UzKqob6Ri— Andrei Arlovski (@AndreiArlovski) September 10, 2013
Shad with the Iron Army in New Jersey.
Akira Corassani (@AkiraCorassani) September 10, 2013
Eric might be in trouble.
A lot of canine appreciation.
Such a cute little shit machine pic.twitter.com/MSYbJGJB3s— Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) September 11, 2013
My boy baron looking for his brother bane. We miss him already. @tonyeu45 raythompson http://t.co/uJ1uPDXCNm— Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) September 11, 2013
MeatyBomBini don't give a shiiiiiit!! pic.twitter.com/v44D8ia6tV— Bec Rowdy Hyatt (@RowdyBec) September 10, 2013
My buddy Cassius keeping me company during rehab!! pic.twitter.com/eYRCuhz3EW— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) September 10, 2013
Announced yesterday (Sept. 10 2013)
Brennan Ward vs. Perry Filkins at Bellator 102
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Bloody Elbow staff writer Connor Ruebusch.
I know I said we'd be releasing these on a biweekly basis, but I just couldn't resist getting my boxing mentor Luis Monda onto the show before the big fights this weekend. For those who don't know, Floyd Mayweather, the greatest boxer in the sport, is taking on Saul "Canelo" Alvarez this Saturday, possibly the greatest prospect in the sport. And in the co-main two of boxing's hardest pound-for-pound hitters face off, with undefeated Danny Garcia taking on should-be-undefeated Lucas Matthysse.
Luis shares with us his analysis of the matchups, but first we get into his general theories on boxing and combat sports training. Luis tells about how a fighter's personality determines his style, the basic fundamentals of boxing, and how he cultivates better people, not just better fighters.
I'm really proud of this interview, and I hope you'll give it a listen. Let me know what you think. Of course you can comment here, or hit me up on Twitter @ConnorRuebusch. And you can also send us some hatemail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to reading it.
Or listen to it on our page:http://heavyhandspodcast.com/episode-2-interview-with-luis-monda-and-mayweather-alvarez-discussion
You can also find us in the iTunes store. Just search for "Heavy Hands."
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.