Regardless of how obnoxious certain aspects of modern day professional MMA and the UFC can be, we can always go back to a simpler time, remembering when… Starting with Alexander Gustafsson’s debut at UFC 105.
Certain aspects of following the highest level of professional mixed martial arts in 2017 are annoying. Whether it’s problematic trash talk, incessant coverage of said trash talk, or a variety of other factors, we find ourselves recalling a simpler time. Not necessarily better, just different. The way your significant other talks about that one ex they can’t just shut-up about? That’s how we feel about “the good ol’ days” of MMA and the UFC.
The sport is always changing, and moving toward the mainstream will only add to the list of things shedding their skin in favor of a more widely appealing product. Some of these changes are good. Some are not. Regardless, memorable past bouts, events, and moments are frozen in time. Unable to be touched by the circus that surrounds the momentous occasions of MMA today, these are the times that shaped and created the sport we love.
Each week, we’ll go back to those times, recalling a specific fight, card, or moment relating to what’s going on in MMA today. This week, as we look forward to UFC Stockholm on Sunday, May 28, we’re taking a glance at Alexander Gustafsson’s impressive promotional debut at UFC 105.
Remember when Alexander Gustafsson made his UFC debut?
It was a while ago, with more than 100 UFC pay-per-view events coming between that bout, and his upcoming fight with Glover Teixeira. There’s been more than a few memorable moments from “The Mauler” in that time, including two title shots and one of the most legendary fights in UFC light heavyweight history. Before all of that though, Gustafsson was just another promotional rookie.
Fighting in the second bout on the preliminary card of UFC 105, Gustafsson was dealt another fighter making his UFC debut. That fighter, Jared Hamman, had a similarly impressive record to Gustafsson coming into their dual debut. While Hamman had suffered one loss, his 11-1 record was comparable to that of the 22-year-old Gustafsson’s 8-0 mark going into their bout in November of 2009.
Gustafsson made sure the interesting matchup of up-and-comers quickly turned into a one-man welcoming party. Aggressive from the start, utilizing his size and reach, the Swede landed early and often. Although, you could describe the entire 41-second bout that way. In less than a minute, Gustafsson earned his first career UFC win and improved his record to 9-0. After a couple of exchanges and solid shots for both fighters, an accidental eye-poke at Hamman’s expense paused proceedings. After the break, Gustafsson took no time at all to get back to business.
A straight right, which resulted in Gustafsson spitting out his mouth guard for some reason, dropped Hamman moments later. It was a little more than 30-seconds into his UFC debut, and “The Mauler” was living up to his namesake. The win showcased a glimpse of what was to come with Gustafsson, and the knockout remains one of the most decisive in his impressive career.
Although he would lose his next bout, at UFC 112 at the hands of current Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis, Gustafsson’s run was far from derailed. Six consecutive wins from October of 2010 to December of 2012, and the resulting title runs in the following years, proved Gustafsson’s place in the promotion was more than deserved.
Now, we get to enjoy the (without Jon Jones included) UFC’s official #1 ranked light heavyweight outside of current champion Daniel Cormier. We get to see him do it in his home country, where he’ll be fighting for the third time in his UFC career. He’s currently 1-1, with a win over Thiago Silva and a loss to Anthony Johnson in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Regardless of how the bout goes against the second-ranked Glover Teixeira, we’ll always have incredible memories of Alexander Gustafsson in the Octagon, beginning with his debut at UFC 105.