Confidence is a good thing, and Alexander Gustafsson seems to have plenty of it. Gustafsson is clearly one of the best 205-pound fighters in the world, and he's been bullish about his ability to defeat Jon Jones and win the light heavyweight belt on Saturday in the main event of UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The Swede is one of the few light heavyweights who can compare with Jones physically. Jones is 6-foot-4, with an 84 1/2-inch reach – the longest in the UFC. Gustafsson is 6-foot-5 with an 81 ½-inch reach.

Jones, though, is more than just a tall, long-armed guy who can manage to make the division's 205-pound weight limit.

He's one of the most physically gifted and instinctual fighters in the sport's history, and beating him in a title match is tantamount to defeating those dominant UCLA basketball teams coached by John Wooden in the 1960s and 1970s.

[Related: UFC champ Jon Jones sets sights on Floyd Mayweather-type success]

Gustafsson is 15-1 and on a nice run – since losing to Phil Davis at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi in 2010, he's beaten Cyrille Diabate, James Te Huna, Matt "The Hammer" Hamill, Vladimir Matyushenko, Thiago Silva and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua – but he hasn't beaten anyone remotely as tough and smart and as skilled as Jones.

He was asked about the reach disadvantage he'll face, but turned it into a positive, as he has done throughout his camp. If no one else believes in Gustafsson, it's plainly obvious that Gustafsson has plenty of belief in himself.

"It's not always about reach, it's about footwork, it's being fast, in and out, stuff like that," Gustafsson said. "And I'm really making sure I've really done my homework here and I'm super motivated."

Jones is able to do things in the cage that no one else has done, but he's not one of those athletes whose feats translate into other sports. He can't dunk a basketball and, despite having two brothers who play in the NFL, he says he's wholly unsuited for football.

He's in the perfect sport for his skill set, and it's going to be a major upset for Gustafsson to come close, let alone win. That's no slight to Gustafsson, who has markedly improved since his loss to Davis. It's more that Jones appears to be built to be an MMA fighter.

Jones' most dangerous opponent at this stage is more complacency rather than a foe in the ring. Perhaps it's worth noting then that Gustafsson is exuding confidence in the buildup to the fight while Jones seems not to be all that concerned.

[Also: T.J. Grant forced to pass up another UFC lightweight title shot]

"Any fighter can be beaten by anybody on any day, and I think what makes me different in a lot of ways is that I know what I'm getting into, I know where I need to be the sharpest, where I need to have my confidence the sharpest," Jones said. "Where I need to have go-to moves. So I study my opponent and so when I get in there I tend to stay one step ahead of the game. And I know it comes from the studying. So that's what studying does for me. I feel it's like a test. If you do your homework and study, you should be nice, relaxed and calm when it comes to that final exam. And that's just how it's been for me."

There will be challenges for Gustafsson at every turn. He's never faced anyone with the variety of offensive moves that Jones has at his disposal. One of Jones' biggest advantages is his wrestling, but he hasn't really had to use it much in getting to the point where he is on the verge of setting the divisional record for most successful title defenses.

To this stage of his title reign, Jones has pretty much used his wrestling similar to the way ex-champion Chuck Liddell did, in a defensive manner designed to allow him to use his strikes.

Jones doesn't have the kind of one-punch knockout power that Liddell had, but his elbows are among the most lethal in the sport's history. He's found a way to put together combinations others can't conceive of, and Gustafsson has to find a way to counter all that.

For his part, Gustafsson is nothing if not a believer. He, too, has studied plenty of film and believes he's unlocked the key to beating Jones.

[Also: What's up with Nick Diaz? Dana White answers]

"We try to break down Jon [and] his last fights into pieces and try to move through everything," Gustafsson said. "That's what we do and how my coaches do it. And I've got 100 percent full trust in my coaches. I'm doing my homework here, too, so I'm just getting ready."

Most would tell him he's getting ready for a face-arranging beating; history would suggest a devastating Jones win.

Gustafsson, though, is convinced that the end of the Jones Era is at hand.

He'll make a lot of skeptics look silly if he's correct.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Podcast: Ian McCall on Scoggins beef and if CM Punk will win - MMA Plus

  • 28 days ago
  • 16 views

Ian McCall featured on The Mind Diet ahead of UFC 203 and he had plenty to say about previously scheduled competitor, 'young dumb kid' Justin Scoggins. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 93: What's Troubling Alexander Gustafsson?

  • 28 days ago
  • 45 views

This summer has been bittersweet for Canadian music fans. Yes, that’s an odd place to start in discussing a Swedish mixed martial artist, but give it a second. One of the greatest rock bands the coun read news >>

UFC Fight Night 93: On the Fly with Alexander Gustafsson

  • 27 days ago
  • 20 views

Before he takes on Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 93 in Hamburg on Saturday, UFC On The Fly catches up with Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 93 Joe Rogan Video Preview: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jan Blachowicz

  • 26 days ago
  • 50 views

Before they fight it out in the UFC Hamburg co-main event on Saturday, hear Joe Rogan breakdown the match-up between Alexander Gustaffson and Jan Blachowicz. read news >>

UFC Hamburg Fight Highlights: Alexander Gustafsson Takedowns Leads to Victory

  • 26 days ago
  • 167 views

Check out the UFC Fight Night 93 highlights from the fight between Alexander Gustafsson and Jan Blachowicz. read news >>

Gustafsson vs. Blachowicz: Results and Reaction from UFC Fight Night 93

  • 26 days ago
  • 15 views

It was 11 months in the making for Alexander Gustafsson, but when he finally returned to the cage at UFC Fight Night 93 on Saturday against Jan Blachowicz, he did so in style. The popular Swede went read news >>

UFC Fight Night 93 Results: Alexander Gustafsson Mauls Jan Blachowicz

  • 26 days ago
  • 22 views

Second-ranked light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson snapped a two-fight losing streak in the UFC Fight Night 93 co-main event on Saturday, defeating up-and-comer Jan Blachowicz. read news >>

UFC Fight Night Arlovski vs Barnett: What you got right & wrong

  • 26 days ago
  • 3 views

UFC fans made their predictions ahead of UFC Fight Night Arlovski vs Barnett - but were they correct? We look at all the prefight picks and see what really happened on fight night. read news >>

Bleacher Report MMA Rankings for September 2016 Ahead of UFC 203

  • 23 days ago
  • 12 views

It's been a while, folks, but the Bleacher Report MMA rankings are back! It's been a hectic month-and-a-half, with a number of major events and a number of good fights going down across nearly every read news >>

Can Alistair Overeem Finally Kill the King? | FIGHTLAND

  • 22 days ago
  • 5 views

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Zuffa LLC It looked as though this day would never come. Two years ago it was near unthinkable that Alistair Overeem would fight for the UFC heavyweight title after a str read news >>