With Jones’ next opponent being named Glover Teixeira at a date yet to be determined, the brawling Swede awaited word of whom he would be facing off against next. With his gutsy performance against Bones – a performance that solidified his fighting acumen to the MMA community, both stateside and abroad – the next opponent for “The Mauler” had to be worthy of a bout with the newly christened MMA standout.
At Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 30: Munoz vs. Machida post-fight press conference inside the bowels of the Phones4U Arena in Manchester, England, UFC president Dana White announced Alexander Gustafsson’s next fight.
And folks, he’s worthy.
Former Pride FC standout and current surging UFC light heavyweight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will now serve as “The Mauler’s” next opponent. The match-up will take place March 8 in London.
Nogueira is currently riding a two-fight winning streak and is 4-2 in the UFC after starting his career in Japan, becoming a superstar alongside his brother Rodrigo in the aforementioned, now-defunct Pride FC organization. Little Nog’s most recent victory came at UFC 158 back in February, in an upset of top-ranked Rashad Evans. The win over Evans all but made certain that his next fight would be a contender-level scrap.
As UFC president Dana White made clear, if Gustafsson can get by Nogueira, then a rematch against Jones awaits – pending Jones defeats Teixeira – in what would surely be one of the most anticipated rematches in the company’s 20-year history.
“It’s definite. He’s got the shot,” said White. “If he beats Nogueira and Jon Jones wins his fight against Teixeira, that’ll be the next fight. He’ll get his rematch.”
No word on if the title shot applies for Nogueira.
Gustafsson and Nogueira were scheduled to meet in a prior showdown at UFC on Fuel TV 2 in April 2012, but the Brazilian was forced to bow out due with a knee injury. For Gustafsson, not only is this a chance at fighting a legend, it’s also a chance to handle some unfinished business.
“We were supposed to fight way back, but we didn’t and now I have the chance to fight him again,” said Gustafsson. “I’m really looking forward to it. He’s a great stand-up striker and a really good opponent.”
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