Newly minted UFC Heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson spoke to MMAnytt via BJPenn.com and previewed his fight against Fabricio Werdum. The two elite UFC staples will square off against each other on July 25 at UFC on ESPN 14. The bout is slated on the last fight card taking place on Yas Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Gustafsson makes his heavyweight debut against the Brazilian in a bout that sees him step out of retirement. He stepped away from the sport, following back-to-back critical losses that admittedly discouraged the former challenger. Fight fans are excited to see his return to action as he left the sport as an elite opposition to his division.
He went on to pull back the curtain on a past incident which involved the two fighters training together. If ‘The Mauler’ is to be believed, the scheduled bout on July 25 is set to go in his favor.
“I’ve sparred with Werdum, actually, ten years ago. It was at Mark Munoz’s gym in Los Angeles. He was champion then, and he was fit. It was a strong version of Werdum then. I’d had a fight two weeks after, and we went at it hard. I’d say that I won that sparring. So we have a bit of a past.
“Yeah, he came in with knees to the head. But we both went all in. It was a good sparring. I won that sparring. It was kind of fun.”
The fight will serve as a critical junction in The Mauler’s career, as he is looking to bounce back into the win column. He arguably exhausted his title opportunities at light heavyweight, contesting for the belt on three separate occasions. Not to mention, a move up to heavyweight will likely translate to increased power for the 6’5” striker.
Fabricio Werdum had an unsuccessful return to the cage after an extended lay-off from active competition. The former heavyweight champion will be equally hungry to restore his legacy with a high profile victory. Moreover, a statement victory will go a long way in helping either fighter inch closer to the gold strap held by Stipe Miocic.
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