The UFC’s light heavyweight title picture is about as murky as it has ever been.
Jon Jones, perhaps the biggest talent to have ever competed in the weight class, is ineligible from competition after yet another misstep outside of the cage. Former two-time title contender Anthony Johnson has walked away from the sport. Volkan Oezdemir, the presumptive next in line for title contention, is in the midst of a legal battle stemming from an alleged bar fight last August — and now Alexander Gustafsson, one of the division’s elite fighters and a perennial title contender, is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery to repair a damaged shoulder.
“Op done,” the Swede wrote on Instagram. “Got my shoulder fixed, feel great, been 3 month with a plate keeping my collarbone in place! Now rehab and slowly getting back in 100% training! Can’t wait to get back to the octagon.”
Gustafsson (18-4) has fought just once this year, a fifth round finish of Glover Teixera in May, in a fight which was itself his first bout in nine months after undergoing back surgery.
‘The Mauler’ had stated that he would like to challenge the winner of the prospective Cormier vs Oezdemir title bout which is thought to be taking place at UFC 220 in January, so long as the Swiss fighter’s legal issues don’t keep him from the cage but, as of now, there is no firm indication as to how long Gustafsson’s latest surgery will keep him out of the cage.