After a few days of intrigue, the UFC light heavyweight title rematch between champion Jon Jones and No. 1 contender Alexander Gustafsson has been officially set. After an epic initial encounter last September, Jones and Gustafsson will renew hostilities on September 27 at UFC 178.
Jones defeated Gustafsson by unanimous decision at UFC 165 in Toronto in one of the best light heavyweight title clashes in UFC history. It was by far the toughest fight of Jones’ career and helped to make Gustafsson an overnight star. The official announcement of the rematch was made after Jones and his manager met at UFC headquarters in Las Vegas with President Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.
Some red flags were raised earlier in the week when White stated in an interview with UFC.com that the champion actually wanted to make his next defense against unbeaten contender Daniel Cormier. That was a problem because Gustafsson had already signed a bout agreement to face Jones next. The rematch was originally targeted for August 30 at UFC 177, but has now been pushed back by a month.
Jones actually was hoping for a late October or November return date because of his brother’s wedding in July, but is on board with the late-September date. The champion stated that while he believes Cormier is the tougher fighter, the matchup against Gustafsson is the one that fans wanted to see. He says he never had a problem with facing “The Mauler”, but it was the date that was originally an issue.
As for DC, he will be next in line if Jones is able to defeat the talented Swede for a second straight time. “Bones” made a record seventh successful title defense with a dominant decision victory over Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in Baltimore. Meanwhile, Gustafsson earned another shot at the champ by stopping Jimi Manuwa in their main event clash at Fight Night 37 in England.
Both fighters have a tough act to follow after their sensational first battle, but with both competitors in the prime of their careers, it should be another exciting affair. Jones-Gustafsson 2 will undoubtedly be one of the most anticipated UFC fights of the year and could potentially be its finest.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports