Is Alexander Gustafsson ‘the next big thing’ in MMA?

Alexander-GustafssonAlexander Gustafsson is considered by many to be one of the top fighters in the light heavyweight division and is even being compared to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Gustafsson does look really good on paper. He has a 14-1 record with his only loss coming from then undefeated and current top 10 ranked Phil Davis. Gustafsson also holds notable wins over Matt Hamill and Vladimir Matyushenko. It’s easy to see why some people think he will be “the next big thing” in MMA. Before we crown him with that title we should take a closer look at Gustafsson’s key wins.

The fact Thiago Silva hadn’t fought in over a year is greatly over looked. Ring rust is real and it was obvious in the fight. Silva is normally aggressive and constantly attacking. In the fight with Gustafsson, Silva seemed a lot more hesitant than usual. When Gustafsson fought Matt Hamill, a string of unfortunate events happen to Hamill. One of the worst things that happened to Hamill was his loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Jackson stuffed all his takedown and with a broken hand still managed to out strike Hamill. A loss like that would eat away at anyone’s confidence. Rumors were spreading that Hamill would retire after. The rumors went away when it was announced Hamill would be fighting Gustafsson at UFC 133.

During the fight it was clear Hamill had lost his hunger. Hamill who is a three-time division III NCAA national champion shots (Takedown attempts) were sloppy at best. Hamill stood with his hands down most of the time and tried to brawl the whole fight. Shortly after the fight Hamill announced his retirement. I think it would be fair to say Hamill had been beaten mentally way before he fought Gustafsson. I believe it is also fair to say Gustafsson didn’t fight the best Matt Hamill.

It’s not my intention to be dismissive but when Gustafsson beat Matyushenko, Matyushenko was 40 years old and about 10 years past his prime. This is a young person’s sport.

I am not taking anything away from Gustafsson. He has incredible talent who won those fights fair and square. I just feel if someone is labeled “the next big” and being compared to Jon Jones they should earn it. Right now I believe it is premature for those labels and comparison. When he can beat two or more top 10 fighters, label him. Until then let’s call him what he is, a talented up and comer.

Torrey Lee is a  Journalist for The Sports Blitz. He is currently a student at Jackson Community College and a hardcore fight fan. He has trained in MMA for 2 years in holds a green belt in Evolution style Kenpo Jiu Jitsu. Torrey has a wealth of writing experience and has been published on many reputable websites. You can contact him on Facebook or on Twitter @thetorreylee. Contact Torrey Directly by emailing him at TLee@TheSportsBlitz.com