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Rashad Evans: Alexander Gustafsson lost because he bought his own hype

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Esther Lin

As Anthony Johnson's Blackzilians training partner, Rashad Evans knew his teammate had the tools to defeat Alexander Gustafsson.

But he also thinks that Gustafsson was, in part, a victim of his own hype in the lead-up to Johnson's first-round TKO victory last month at UFC on FOX 13 in Stockholm.

"One of the reasons why I felt AJ won was that Gustafsson, I like Gustafsson, Gustafsson is a cool guy and everything," Evans said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "But I honestly felt like he actually thought he was the champion. He had a great fight with [Jon] Jones, and it could have went either way. but then he let the hype get him."

As a former UFC light heavyweight champion, Evans knows what it's like to be in the middle of the UFC's promotional pushes, and he's learned that one needs to keep an even keel when the going is good.

In Gustafsson's case, he was being built up as a superstar in his homeland of Sweden, the focal point of the card which featured the second-largest crowd in UFC history, and that helped lead to Johnson's victory.

"It's hard," Evans said. "Because when you've got the UFC machine behind you, hyping you up, putting you on video games and stuff like that, you feel like, yeah, you are the champion, you just ain't got your belt yet. But then you're overlooking people. But when you overlook people, that's when you get it handed to you."