… And still the UFC light heavyweight champion of the world, Jon “Bones” Jones.
In what was clearly the most difficult fight of his illustrious MMA career, Jones was absolutely pushed to the limit at UFC 165, but emerged victorious over Alexander Gustafsson. Jones set a UFC record with his sixth consecutive defense, passing the previous mark of five set by Tito Ortiz between 2000 and 2002.
In putting on one of the best fights in recent memory, though, Jones and Gustafsson both showed just how talented they are. Although many observers will undoubtedly disagree with the unanimous decision in favor of the champion, the fact of the matter is that both men fought well enough to win this classic battle.
Gustafsson surprisingly controlled the striking match, and in nullifying Jones’s reach advantage, he was able to do some damage with quick jabs and punishing rights. The Swedish star even earned the first takedown Jones has suffered in the UFC. Although he wasn’t able to keep Jones on the ground for long, it just showed more of Gustafsson’s heart and talent that will keep him at the top of the light heavyweight division for the foreseeable future.
Jones actually looked like the slower fighter early on, but landed just enough strikes of his own to keep Gustafsson at bay. In the fourth round, it appeared that Jones may have lost two rounds and was in danger of dropping a third when he finally landed a spinning back elbow to Gustafsson’s forehead. That strike turned the tide of the fight, earned Jones the fourth round, and Gustafsson wasn’t the same after surviving that closing flurry.
In any case, the UFC has a serious Fight Of The Year candidate in Jones vs. Gustafsson, and Dana White may have a license to print money with a rematch if Jones defeats Glover Texeira. The image of Jones raising his arms in a combination of jubilation and pure relief when he was announced the winner is one that won’t soon be forgotten by UFC fans or the challenger. Jones continues his classic reign, and Gustafsson has nothing to hang his head about. That was a fight for the ages.