Alexander Gustafsson isn’t the biggest name in the game over here in North America,  but he has a sizeable fanbase, no question. So what’s it like for him in his native Sweden? Well, it sounds like “The Mauler” is a pretty, pretty big deal.

Gustafsson has become one of the UFC’s top and most popular light-heavyweights, thanks to his epic wars with Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Both of those bouts are widely considered to be two of the greatest title fights in UFC history, particularly his scrap with Jones.

But, at the end of the day, Gustafsson came up short in both of those fights, and now the 29 year-old has lost three of his last four fights. Gustafsson remains one of the sports best 205’ers, but if he hopes to finally secure that gold any time soon, some significant challenges lay ahead.

Well, recently it was reported that Gustafsson has elected to return to Alliance MMA in San Diego. The team’s leader, Eric Del Fierro, recently told MMA the following:

“I think he just wanted to get away and try to spend more time in the U.S., kind of take a break from being in the spotlight over there more than anything,” Del Fierro said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily any different type of training, just trying to get out of the spotlight a little bit. In Sweden, he’s huge. He’s just a huge athlete. He is super famous over there.”

That’s not too shocking, considering what Gustafsson’s accomplished, and it’s nice to hear. Hopefully he’s making some nice coin due to sponsorships, advertisements etc as well in Sweden. Lord knows Gustafsson deserves it.

It’s going to be interesting to see what unfolds for Gustafsson in the coming months. Since his bouts with Jones and Cormier were so close, he’s likely not that far out from another title shot. But, in order to land one, he’s going to have to defeat some very talented opponents. Perhaps a bout with Glover Teixeira or Ryan Bader could be coming? Sounds about right no?