UFC light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson faces Jon Jones at UFC 165 on September 21st (watch our interview with Jones here). It will be the first time the Swede has fought in a five round fight, and he’s been upping the intensity of his training accordingly, sparring extra rounds and putting his body through punishing conditioning circuits.
‘It’s like a normal training camp, but we’ve upped the tempo on everything’, says Gustafsson. ‘I just have to push through it and grind it out.’
Jones has destroyed a string of dangerous title challengers since capturing the UFC light-heavyweight strap from Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua back in 2011, including his most recent victory – a brutal first round beat down of Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 back in April. Gustafsson meanwhile is riding a six-fight win streak in the UFC, having also beaten Rua via unanimous decision in his last outing back in December 2012.
Although Jones will be a heavy favourite going into the bout, the two are evenly matched in height and reach - two areas in which Jones has had an advantage over all his previous opponents - which could make for an intriguing contest.
Gustafsson isn’t bothered about the odds. ‘The only thing that really matters is who’s been working the hardest, and who wants it more’, he says. ‘To win the title and bring it back to Sweden with me would be a dream come true’.
UFC 165: Jones vs Gustafsson will be shown live on BT Sport from 1am on Saturday 21st September
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