After Daniel Cormier made it clear he wasn’t interested in making his light-heavyweight debut overseas, many observers predicted that the UFC would book Alexander Gustafsson to fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Then, just days after the fight was announced for March 8th, it was disclosed that “Lil Nog” was out due to injury. The veteran’s prompt withdrawal raised a few eyebrows since the bout had just been confirmed.
Well, as it turns out, “Lil Nog” never signed off on the bout, in fact, he never verbally agreed to it either. UFC boss man Dana White revealed to the media following UFC Fight Night 32 Saturday that (comments via MMA Junkie.com):
“What happened was that night we decided to make the fight,” Dana White said. “Gustafsson said yes, and they couldn’t get hold of him, so I said, ‘F–k it,’ and just went with it and announced the fight, and of course, he’s hurt.”
“The fight isn’t for four months, and he’s already determined he’s hurt,” White said. “I don’t understand that. The guy is always hurt. Every time you call him, he’s hurt.”
Nogueira was set to fight “Shogun” Rua at UFC 161 in June, but had to withdraw due to a back injury, which reportedly is why the PRIDE vet elected to not fight Gustafsson as well. The 37 year-old hasn’t fought since UFC 156 in February when he defeated Rashad Evans by unanimous decision. Since arriving in the UFC in 2009, the light-heavyweight has only fought six times, but has gone 4-2 to date.
Now Gustafsson will take on British fighter Jimi Manuwa, who although he does not have the accomplished resume that “Lil Nog” has, he is undefeated in 14 fights. Not only that, but all 14 of his wins have come via stoppage or submission. The March 8th scrap will go down at the O2 Arena in London, England. If Gustafsson wins, and Jon Jones defends the belt versus Glover Teixeira, then Jones-Gustafsson II is a go.
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