Alexander Gustafsson fought better than ever at UFC 165 in challenging light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Even though he lost on the official score cards, many observers felt that the Swede did enough to become the new champion, and the conventional wisdom was that his training with former foe Phil Davis at the Alliance MMA camp in San Diego was key to Alexander’s improvement.
Gustafsson has announced, however, that he will no longer conduct training camps with the Alliance team nor train with Phil Davis, according to a report from MMA Junkie. “Now I’m in that stage of my career that I will compete three or four times a year, so I can not hold on and go off all the time,” Gustafsson said in a recent interview with Aftonbladet. “It costs too much and it takes too much time away from my family. It’s simply not worth it.”
It may be that Gustafsson believes that he and Davis will be fighting one another again and wants to avoid the untenable situation of fighting a teammate. The two big men fought one another at UFC 112 in 2010, with Davis earning a first-round submission win. Since that time, Gustafsson has trained alongside Davis at Alliance, improving his wrestling skills by working with the former national champion out of Penn State.
“We belong to both the top, and that’s not a difficult guess that we’ll meet again soon,” Gustafsson explained. “It’s not a dream opponent because we are friends, but (if) UFC decides that we should meet…it feels better to not train together right now.”
“We do not train with each other as much anymore,” Gustafsson said flatly.
Alliance head trainer Eric Del Fierro expressed surprise at Gustafsson’s decision. According to Del Fierro, an injury sustained by Davis recently prevented he and Gustafsson from training much together in advance of UFC 165 but that prior to that the two had no apparent problems working with one another.
What do you think, nation? Is Gustafsson sensing that the UFC will pit him against his friend Davis once again since they have opted to give Glover Teixeira the next shot at Jones?
Will Davis and Gustafsson’s ebony and ivory buddy cop friendship survive this latest riff and a possible second fight? And can Gustafsson continue to improve as much in Sweden, without the help of Davis and Del Fierro?