UFC Fight Night 53 in Stockholm didn't turn out to have any home-cage advantage for the Swedish fighters. And the country's most iconic mixed martial artist, Alexander Gustafsson, is a little disappointed in the comments towards his countrymen in the aftermath.
After his Swedish teammates Niklas Bäckström, Ilir Latifi and Tor Troéng each lost their bouts on Saturday, Gustafsson took to Mikz and called fickle fans out for their comments.
"We had a bad night last evening, but my team mates are still the worlds best mma fighters," Gustafsson posted. "I train with Ilir Latifi, I know he is a beast, I know how hard he prepared himself for this fight, but last night was not his night and he will come out of this much stronger. Niklas Bäckström, all of you fans have said he is the next star of Swedish MMA, I agree, he is a supertalent.
"Now I read everywhere that he is weak, he has no jaw and other stupid things. He got hit by a overhand and got knocked out, could happen to anyone. Tor Troéng is an experienced and a smart fighter, he fought well and sometimes it is just not your night, someone just for that night is better than you. Magnus 'Jycken' Cedenblad, what a great fight, he really showed his heart last night and came back from the 2nd round in a really impressive win. Well done my friend."
It was an all-around bad night for the Swedes, and even the country's close associates. In the main event, Icelandic welterweight Gunnar Nelson lost his bout to Rick Story via split decision. Earlier, Swedish-born Akira Corassani was defeated via TKO by Max Holloway. Whereas at UFC Fight Night 46 in Dublin, Ireland, where most of the Irish fighters held forth and won their bouts, Stockholm was the opposite.
Gustafsson, who is still the No. 1 contender in the UFC's light heavyweight division, was perturbed that fans and media acted as turncoats after the setbacks.
"It's an enormous pressure with media and PR and then coming into a cage in front of millions of people on TV and thousands of people in the stadium and face someone that wants to knock you out," he wrote. "You have to be a fighter or a top athlete to be able to understand all we go through and sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, but we ALWAYS do our best"
Gustafsson, who finds himself in limbo right now, did not compete on the event. He was supposed to have his rematch with Jon Jones at UFC 178, but had to withdraw from the card when he injured his knee. He was replaced with Daniel Cormier, but that fight was subsequently postponed until Jan. 3 at UFC 182.
Gustafsson was slated to face Anthony Johnson on Dec. 13, but that fight was scotched when Johnson was handed down an indefinite suspension after an alleged domestic abuse incident. Even with all the turmoil in the division, Gustafsson has said that he still plans on fighting again to stay busy rather than wait out the winner of Cormier-Jones.