UFC: Gustafsson Expected to Return at Heavyweight Against Werdum on July 25

Alexander Gustafsson, who fought at UFC Stockholm
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Former light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson will be coming back from retirement and moving up in weight to take on former champion Fabricio Werdum on July 25.

Combate and MMAJunkie have confirmed that former three-time light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson will be returning to action on July 25 against former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum.  The fight is expected to take place on Fight Island as Gustafsson resides outside of the United States.

Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson (18-6) declared his retirement following a loss to Anthony Smith in his home country of Sweden last June.  An emotional Gustafsson famously took off his gloves in the cage and delivered the line “The show’s over guys” during his post-fight interview.  In recent months, however, rumors began to swirl that Gustafsson had decided to continue fighting.  The Swede has been a perennial top contender at light heavyweight for the better part of the last decade and fought for the title three times: Against Jon Jones in 2013 and 2018 and against Daniel Cormier in 2015.  The first fight with Jones is regarded as one of the best fights in UFC history and was recently named to the UFC Hall of Fame.  Gustafsson will be fighting at heavyweight for the first time in his career against Werdum.

Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (23-9-1) is looking to snap a two-fight skid after coming up short to contenders Alexander Volkov and Aleksei Oleinik.  In 2018, Werdum had been suspended for two years by USADA after a test found trenbolone in his system but the suspension was reduced by ten months after he provided “substantial assistance” to the agency.  A former champion who unified the interim and undisputed titles in 2015, Werdum will be looking to fight for a second time without fans after facing Oleinik in Jacksonville at the first event to be held since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently, the event on July 25 is expected to be headlined by former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and top contender Darren Till.  Also announced this week by Dana White for the date is a fight between light heavyweights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.