Remember the epic light heavyweight battle between UFC champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson last year at UFC 165? Of course you do. Some have called it the greatest fight in UFC history, and the champ, who had previously beaten every one of his opponents with seeming ease, was pushed to his absolute limit. In the end, Jones was awarded the decision, but many disagreed with the judges and called for a rematch. Since the fight, both Jones and Gustafsson have fought and won once, and “The Mauler” is still the top contender at 205 pounds. The UFC and president Dana White want the rematch as well, Gustafsson is also ready for it. Only one problem… Mr. Jones doesn’t want it.
“Just to clear up a couple things, people think we’re in contract negotiations with Jon Jones – we’re not. Jon Jones still has five fights left on his contract. So what we’re doing right now is trying to get him to sign the bout agreement for Gustafsson. He doesn’t want to fight Gustafsson. … Lorenzo and I have a meeting with Jones on Thursday to get him to sign the bout agreement, and he’s asking to fight Cormier instead.”
Jones would like to fight the number two ranked guy first, before a rematch with Gustafsson. And he has (had) a message for all the fans who are saying he’s ducking Gustaffson.
Jones via Instagram:
“Asking for an undefeated Olympic wrestler, Strikeforce champion, makes me somehow a coward? How about the fact that I beat Gustafsson already, whether you guys like how close it was or not? It’s my career, not yours.”
Jones has since deleted the video from Instagram — why, I don’t know. If you’re going to be “honest” or your playing the “heel” or whatever, go with it. You put it out there, stick with it. But he does have a point, right? It is his career. It’s just not what we’re used to seeing from UFC champions. Whatever happened to “taking on all-comers” and “it’s up to the UFC to decide who they want me to fight next”? Is this a good thing, that champions are able to negotiate and decide who they want to fight next? I think it is. It puts the power back in the fighter’s hands so they aren’t dictated by the corporate machine. This I like. Who wouldn’t want to see Jones vs. Gustafsson 2? And hopefully it will happen at some point, but Cormier vs. Jones is also an intriguing match-up and Cormier has been clamoring for this fight for some time.
Cormier has also said that he’d be willing to fight Gustafsson next if Jones won’t do it, and fight fans like that. They like a guy who will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime.
What say you? Is Jones ducking Gustafsson, or just making the right move for his career?
See the salvaged video from Jones’ Instagram below: