Although Gustafsson is entering a new weight class, he is already quite familiar with Werdum, he said. Asked about a bout in 2012 where Werdum claims he had the best Gustafsson, “The Mauler” set the record straight and revealed he actually got the better of the Brazilian, and even “s ‘was broken the nose’.
“We had a good fight,” Gustafsson told reporters including MMA Junkie on Tuesday at the UFC on ESPN Media Day 14. “I went all-in, him and me and it was a good fight. . I don’t remember who I was fighting against at the time, but I was in camp, he was in camp for a fight, but the short story is I beat him in that fight session. I beat him badly… so he didn’t want to spare me anymore.
Gustafsson said he certainly didn’t expect this version of Werdum on fight night. He suspects Werdum, who hasn’t been too active lately, to be in good shape.
“It was a different world, a different time,” Gustafsson said. “I see Werdum in his best form right now. I saw him there and said hello to him, but he looks good, he looks ready to go so I’m really excited for this one.
Gustafsson’s fight at UFC on ESPN 14 marks his first since June 2019. The Swede walked away from the sport after suffering a fourth round loss to Anthony Smith at UFC on ESPN + 11 in his hometown of Stockholm.
He admits to having reacted emotionally by announcing his retirement and the heartbreaking loss of Smith was the reason for this decision. At heavyweight he has a new life and now he doesn’t have to empty himself to hit the 205 pound limit. For this reason, Gustafsson said he expects to have many advantages in his new weight class.
“My speed (will be the key),” Gustafsson said. “I’ve taken pretty much everything from the light heavyweight to heavyweight division now, and I feel so much stronger. I’m doing better now than I did as a light heavyweight in my training camps so I feel strong, I feel fast, I am ready.
“I want to be active. I’m here to stay, I’m not going anywhere, so let’s see what happens.