Alexander Gustafsson got a nice early Christmas present from the fans when he learned that he would be gracing the cover of the EA Sports-produced UFC video game which is soon to hit stores.
Light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones was placed on the cover by EA Sports but the second spot was left open, to be decided by a fan vote. Among the fighters in the running for the honor were Georges St Pierre, Anderson Silva, Ronda Rousey and Michael Bisping.
His clash with Jones at UFC 165 has been declared the best light-heavyweight fight in UFC history. On March 8 he will face Jimi Manuwa in London and, if victorious, will get a title shot against the winner of the upcoming Jon Jones/Glover Teixeira fight.
Fighters Only caught up with the Swedish contender to get his thoughts about being immortalized in video-game form.
FO: What was your reaction to being the fansâ€™ #1 pick?
â€śI am very happy to have been chosen and I feel great about it. Actually it is a little surreal, I canâ€™t wait to see myself on the cover.
FO: Do you think that you should really be on the left side, in Jonesâ€™ spot, holding that belt?
Well yes and no. I want to beat the champion and take the belt so that is one thing, I would have been on the cover for definite then.
But the fact that it was the fans who chose me is a bigger thing to me. I really cannot believe it, it is a great honor for me and I really have to thank the fans from the bottom of my heart.
FO: Who did you expect to win?
Obviously Georges St Pierre was the favorite, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would have beaten him in the vote.
Regarding his year off, if that is what he wants to do then he should do it.
FO: Once you get a copy of the game, who are the first characters you will play as?
Jon Jones - I will fight myself and lose to myself, ha! Or I could pick Jon Jones for one side and not plug the controller in, so he just stands there and I can use him as a punching bag haha!
FO: Prediction for Jones vs. Teixeira?
I think Jones will win that fight. Glover is a tough guy but Jones has too many weapons and too many different ways to win.
FO: And your thoughts on Manuwa?
Heâ€™s a great fighter, 14 wins and 14 finishes. He is a very dangerous guy but I believe I have more skills than he has. You never know how the fight is going to go but I am going to make sure that I am the best version of Alex Gustafsson I can be.
FO: Are you happy with the fight being in London rather than Sweden?
London is close, its almost home like Sweden. I fought in the 02 before, I know the arena well and I think we will get a lot of Swedish fans coming over. I think youâ€™ll see a lot of screaming Swedish fans.
FO: Recently we visited Alliance MMA in San Diego and to a man your team mates said â€śNo wayâ€ť does Jones want a rematch with you. Do you think he wants that rematch?
Good question. I donâ€™t know. I hope he wants the rematch, I hope he wants to try and make a statement.
Alexander Gustafsson will appear on the cover of EA SPORTS UFC, available on Xbox One and PS4 in Spring 2014. 'Feel The Fight' and experience the action, emotion and intensity inside the Octagon with EA SPORTS Ignite. Go toÂ easports.com/uk/ufcÂ for more news on the release and watch the official trailerÂ here
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