When Swedish MMA star Alexander Gustafsson, the toughest test to date for UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, withdrew from their UFC 178 rematch due to injury, you could almost hear an audible sigh of relief from the Jones camp. Daniel Cormier, who stepped into the title shot, was the man Jones originally wanted to face, and in the end, albeit by injury, Jones got his wish.
Jones claimed the match with Cormier was the better fight. He’d already beaten Gustafsson after all, and Cormier happened to be the ex-champion (at heavyweight) in another promotion with Olympic wrestling credentials. On paper, what a threat.
In reality, however, there’s still a better likelihood of Gustafsson taking away Jones’ coveted belt and breaking his title defense streak than there is of Cormier pulling off the feat; and make no mistake, Jones is well aware of that.
He’s also well aware that the big Swedish fighter is still looming in the distance and the new and improved Anthony “Rumble” Johnson most likely after that. Perhaps that is why, then, he is now open to the idea of a “superfight” with middleweight champion Chris Weidman, who is fresh off a close win over former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.
In an interview with Sherdog this weekend, Jones was asked about the potential matchup and had the following to say:
“Oh, man, I think that would be awesome. I would absolutely jump at the opportunity to have a super fight with Chris Weidman. I respect him a lot as a person and as a champion, and I think that that fight would make great sales — absolutely.”
To be absolutely fair to Jones, he was asked the question; he didn’t bring it up. However, he should also know full well that these sorts of super fights rarely happen. Even if a Jones/Weidman fight were to take place, Weidman, though a relatively large middleweight, is likely no match for Jones, who is expected to move up to heavyweight at some point in his career should he not retire first.
In short, Jones would have been better served to have said something along the lines of “I’m focusing on my current fight” or “I’d rather clear out my own division,” but it’s clear that Jones would still rather avoid a Gustafsson rematch if possible. He’s not quite running from him, but he’s not gunning for him either.