Don’t think for an instant Alexander Gustafsson is going to rest on the laurels of his recent victory over Thiago Silva and be happy. Though the Swedish fighter may have made his native country proud by taking a decision over the former contender at UFC on Fuel 2 this past weekend, “The Mauler” knows bigger things are on the horizon.

Gustafsson didn’t challenge the UFC light heavyweight champion during the post-fight press conference, but he did make sure to say he would be more than willing to step inside the Octagon with the winner of this weekend’s title-fight between Jon Jones-Rashad Evans whenever called upon.

“I (executed) my game plan, but I’m a finisher. It was my first decision, so I’m still learning,” Gustafsson said. “I want to fight the top-five guys in the world in my division, but if (UFC) were to give me a title shot, I would be more than ready if that day comes.”

Gustafsson isn’t the likely next contender to the belt, as Dan Henderson has been waiting for several months to cash in his chips and fight for a divisional strap. However, the rising prospect seems poised to have a breakout year,which could catapult him right into contention by the end of 2012 or early 2013.


MMATraining Take: Gustafsson could have made an even bigger impact by stopping Silva, who has been knocked out just once in his career and never submitted. Yet, with the pressure of fighting in his home country having an impact, it was good to see Gustafsson pull through without taking much damage.