The sad image of a forlorn Alexander Gustafsson taking off his gloves following his submission loss to Anthony Smith at UFC Stockholm will live long in the memory.
"The show is over, guys."
— UFC (@ufc) June 1, 2019
Struggling to find his words, all Gustafsson could muster was: “The show is over, guys,” devastating his adoring Swedish fans in attendance.
A lot has been said about interviewing losing fighters immediately following a tough battle. Emotions run high and the competitors in question may not be clear-headed and at their most eloquent after enduring punishment in a cage.
And because of Gustafsson’s short, sharp statement in the Octagon, many questioned whether Gustafsson is really committed to retiring from mixed martial arts. Even long-time foe Jon Jones wasn’t sure to believe the towering Swede.
Honestly I don’t believe you but if you’re serious, thank you for everything. You held the division to a standard and made us better. Go kick ass with that Family.
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) June 1, 2019
However, Gustafsson doubled down on his decision to retire form the sport after laying his gloves down in the Octagon.
“Yeah, I am [retired]. I’m done,” Gustafsson told ESPN+. “I’m disappointed with the outcome of the fight. I was ready. I was in my zone and it felt good.
“I don’t do this for the money. I do this because I want to be the best and beat the best. If I can’t do that, it is what it is.”
Gustafsson almost repeated those words verbatim in his post-fight UFC press conference and had alluded to this stance prior to his fight with Smith.
“It feels like I don’t have it in me anymore, to be honest,” he continued. “I just have that feeling it’s time now. I don’t want to be a journeyman. I don’t want to do this because I’m getting paid. I want to do this because I love it. I want to be at the top.”