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Alexander Gustafsson: Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson hits harder than Jon Jones

Esther Lin

Swedish light heavyweight star Alexander Gustafsson's opinion of the UFC 187 matchup between UFC champion Jon Jones and challenger Anthony "Rumble" Johnson carries more weight than most.

Gustafsson, after all, has gone toe-to-toe with both. The fighter known as "The Mauler" engaged Jones in what most consider 2013's Fight of the Year before dropping a close decision to the champ at UFC 165, and he lost an upset first-round TKO to Johnson back in January.

Having faced off with both, Gustafsson believes the challenger has a clear advantage in one area: punching power.

"Oh, he hits harder than Jones, yeah," Gustafsson said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "Rumble, when he connects, you feel it. That's what Jones has to be careful of, his power. When he comes with the pressure, he has really good pressure. He's really dangerous as a light heavyweight."

That said, Gustafsson isn't about to advise you lay your money down on the challenger. Taking all factors of the fight into account, he believes the world's best pound-for-pound fighter will emerge from Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas with the gold intact.

"It's a tough call," Gustafsson said. "I think Jones will win the fight, because he has more leverage and he has a little bit more, he mixes things up, as everyone knows. So I think he will win this fight. But that said, Rumble is a great fighter, and a great person and he's heavy handed. So, you know, anything can happen in a fight. You have to keep your chin down and your hands up. I'm very excited for that fight."

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