ABU DHABI – It seems there’s a little bit of historical past between Alexander Gustafsson and Fabricio Werdum.

Gustafsson (18-6 MMA, 10-6 UFC), the previous three-time UFC gentle heavyweight title challenger, will transfer as much as heavyweight to face former champion Werdum (23-9-1 MMA, 11-6 UFC) on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 14, which takes place at Flash Discussion board at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, and airs on ESPN.

Although Gustafsson is coming into a brand new weight class, he’s already fairly accustomed to Werdum, he stated. When requested a few sparring session in 2012 the place Werdum claims he bought the higher Gustafsson, “The Mauler” set the file straight and revealed he really bought the higher of the Brazilian, and even “broke his nostril.”

“We had a superb sparring,” Gustafsson advised reporters, together with MMA Junkie, on Tuesday at UFC on ESPN 14 media day. “I went all in, him and me and it was a superb sparring. I don’t bear in mind who I used to be combating again then, however I used to be in camp, he was in camp for a struggle, however make historical past brief, I beat him in that sparring session. I beat him unhealthy…then he didn’t wish to spar me no extra.”

Gustafsson stated he’s actually not anticipating that model of Werdum on struggle evening. He suspects Werdum, who additionally hasn’t been too energetic as of late, to be in good kind.

“That was a distinct world, a distinct time,” Gustafsson stated. “I see Werdum in his greatest form proper now. I really noticed him on the market and stated good day to him, however he seems to be match, he seems to be able to go so I’m actually excited for this one.”

Gustafsson’s struggle at UFC on ESPN 14 marks his first since June 2019. The Swede walked away from the game after struggling a fourth-round submission loss to Anthony Smith at UFC on ESPN+ 11 in his hometown of Stockholm.

He admits that he reacted emotionally when saying his retirement and the heartbreaking loss to Smith prompted that call. At heavyweight, he has new life and now that he now not has to empty himself to make the 205-pound restrict. Due to that, Gustafsson stated he expects to have quite a few benefits in his new weight class.

“My pace (shall be key),” Gustafsson stated. “I principally took all the pieces from the sunshine heavyweight division to heavyweight now, and I really feel a lot stronger. I carry out higher now than I did as a lightweight heavyweight in my coaching camps so I really feel robust, I really feel quick, I’m prepared.

“I wish to be energetic. I’m right here to remain, I’m not going anyplace so let’s see what occurs.”