After consecutive losses to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and top contender Anthony Smith, Alexander Gustafsson announced his surprising retirement from MMA in a post-fight interview. But just one year later, Gustafsson is hungry for UFC gold and making a comeback to the sport with a move to the heavyweight division.
According to MMA Fighting, the 33-year-old Gustafsson will return to the Octagon for his 17th appearance at UFC’s “Fight Island” on July 25 against Fabricio Werdum.
Werdum returned from a reduced two-year USADA suspension in May to suffer a decision loss to Aleksei Oleinik. At 42, the former champion will look to kickstart one more run into title contention in a loaded division just two months after his last bout. His last win came in November of 2017, when Werdum picked up a win by unanimous decision against Marcin Tybura.
Gustafsson has lost all three attempts at capturing UFC gold, dropping a decision loss to Jones in 2013, a decision loss to Daniel Cormier in 2015, and a knockout at the hands of Jones in 2018. Gustafsson’s anticipated tilt with Werdum will play the undercard of Darren Till’s main event showdown with Robert Whittaker. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is also expected to face off against Mauricio Rua.
The location of UFC’s “Fight Island” is still unknown, but could be revealed by UFC president Dana White next week.