UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones doubts that Alexander Gustafsson will remain retired, despite making the announcement following a loss at UFC on ESPN+ 11 on Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden, but if he does, Jones wishes him well.
Gustafsson's career has spanned more than a decade, but despite remaining entrenched at the top of the 205-pound division for years, he was never able to put UFC gold around his waist. Gustafsson (18-6) fought for the title on three different occasions, but lost once to current UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and twice to Jones.
After Gustafsson lost to Anthony Smith in Saturday's main event on his home turf in Sweden, he determined that his career had run its course and dropped his gloves to the Octagon floor, saying, "The show is over, guys."
He later added, "I (fought) because I want to be the best and if I can’t be the best then it is what it is. Now I’ll focus on my kids. I own a gym and have a couple of other projects going on. Let’s see what’s next. I built the life that I wanted, so let’s see what is the next chapter."
Though the public chatter between Jones and Gustafsson has been contentious at times, it came with a heavy does of respect for one another. That's something that, despite Jones doubting Gustafsson's resolve to remain retired, he didn't overlook in his comments to Gustafsson on Twitter.
"Honestly, I don't believe you, but if you're serious, thank you for everything," Jones wrote. "You held the division to a standard and made us better. Go kick ass with the family."
If it is indeed the end of his career, Gustafsson will forever be remembered as the fighter that put Swedish mixed martial arts on the global radar. He has been involved in numerous Fights of the Night, and his Fight of the Year with Jones at UFC 165 in 2013 will go down as one of the greatest MMA bouts in history.
Jon Jones Tweets his respect to Alexander Gustafsson following The Mauler's UFC retirement