While the UFC has already gotten Alexander Gustafsson to sign on for a highly-anticipated title rematch against Jon Jones, it seems as though the light heavyweight champion isn’t as eager to do it again just yet. The promotion is targeting Jones-Gustafsson 2 for UFC 177, but according to President Dana White, Jones has another idea in mind.
In an interview with UFC.com, White stated that Jones actually wants to fight Daniel Cormier next. White and UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta are scheduled to meet with Jones later this week in the hopes of getting him to sign a bout agreement to face “The Mauler.” The two had an epic first encounter at UFC 165 that saw Jones emerge with a unanimous decision victory in what was the toughest fight of his career.
While some believed Jones’ delay was because the two sides were in contract negotiations, White says that’s not the case as Jones still has five fights left on his current deal. However, money could definitely be an issue as Jones, as the sport’s biggest PPV draw, may be looking for added financial incentive to take the fight.
While there were calls for an immediate rematch after their first encounter, Jones opted to make his next defense against Glover Teixeira. The champion dominated the tough Brazilian at UFC 172 to make it seven straight title defenses. The original plan was for Jones and Gustafsson to meet again after the Swedish fighter also took care of business by blasting out Jimi Manuwa in his last fight. Since coming on board for the proposed Aug. 30 rematch, Gustafsson has been badgering Jones on social media to do likewise but White contends the champ prefers to face “DC” next.
Cormier entered the title equation with a dominant effort against Dan Henderson at UFC 173. Cormier finished off the veteran in the third round by submission to improve to 15-0. The win was expected to get him the next title shot after Gustafsson had his rematch with Jones. The No. 2 ranked Cormier has clearly been keeping tabs on the developments as he has already expressed an interest in facing Gustafsson for an interim title if Jones for whatever reason doesn’t want the fight.
It’ll be extremely interesting to see if things get resolved this week and what direction is taken. Will Jones relent on his stance and sign an agreement to face Gustafsson again or will he stick to his guns on wanting to square off against Cormier?
Jones has been through a murderer’s row in winning the 205-pound belt and making a record number of light heavyweight defenses. While Cormier would be another formidable challenge for the champion, Jones-Gustafsson 2 is the fight that the UFC and a majority of fans want to see happen next.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports