Jon Jones Found His Foil at UFC 165, but Will UFC Make the Rematch with Alexander Gustafsson?

September 22, 2013
23 Comments

Jon Jones UFC 145 WorkoutsChuck Liddell had Tito Ortiz. Anderson Silva had Chael Sonnen. Georges St-Pierre, he had Matt Hughes.

Throughout MMA’s brief history, every great champion has found his foil; the opponent that brought out his best.  Some fighters create theirs through unforeseen happenstance, and some have to battle through years of challengers to find theirs.

Take reigning UFC light heavyweight champion and perennial pound-for-pound wrecking machine Jon “Bones” Jones.

Endicott, New York’s favorite son burst onto the MMA scene at UFC 87 in August 2008 with a unanimous decision win over Andre Gusmao.  Since that time, Jones has gone on to win 12 fights in a row (sans a dominating performance over Matt Hamill that was ruled a loss due to illegal elbows), becoming the company’s youngest champion in history and, in the process, decimating a litany of former champions along the way.

Even with all the hoopla and jaw-dropping in-ring prowess, Jones has never mustered the type of adoration or interest of those legendary fighters that came before him.

Maybe it was the fact that Jones made it all look so easy. His destruction of Lyoto Machida: easy.  His obliteration of Shogun Rua: easy.  His complete domination of Rampage Jackson: easy.

As each champion fell at the feet of “Bones,” people wondered if there would ever be a fighter dynamic and fearless enough to challenge him.

Enter the “Swedish Mauler” at UFC 165 on Saturday night.

In front of 15,504 fans inside the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Jon Jones squared off with number one contender Alexander Gustafsson.

After 25 minutes, Jones walked away with a unanimous decision victory in what will go down as one of the greatest fights in UFC history.

It was close, and it was controversial.  Many thought Gustafsson dethroned Jones three rounds to two.  Others saw it in favor of the champion.

When the final horn sounded, and the last second ticked off the clock, one thing was crystal clear: on Saturday, Jon Jones found his foil.

At the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White was flooded with the obvious question on everyone’s mind: Will there be an immediate rematch?

But first, the UFC’s head honcho wanted to reiterate how good the main event at UFC 165 was.

“So you wanna know how good that fight was? Neither the champion or the challenger will be here (at the post-fight press conference),” White said from the post-fight podium.

“Jones is already at the hospital and Gustafsson is headed to the hospital right now. That’s how good that fight was.  I don’t think we’ve ever had that happen before. It’s usually one or the other.”

But what about the rematch?

“Who doesn’t want to see this rematch, you know?”

With the scorecards wildly divided across the MMA universe, White was questioned as to whom he felt won.

“To be honest, I got so caught up in the fight – and people were yelling at me and stuff and I was yelling back – I honestly didn’t even score the fight,” he recalled.

“When I was leaving, I heard people yelling, ‘I had it 3-2 for Gustafsson!’ Other people were saying 3-2 Jones. And then I talked to Marc Ratner and he said he had it even going into the fifth round, and gave it to Jones.”

He continued, “One of the exciting things about this sport is things never go the way you expect them to go, and tonight was one of those nights.  This is one of those fights where you’re going to have people divided, and some are gonna say Gustafsson got screwed tonight and some that will say Jones won, but it was close.”

Yeah, but are we going to get a rematch?

“I didn’t say we’re gonna do the rematch,” he reiterated with his trademark grin. “I said I’d like to do the rematch.

“I mean, it makes sense. I like it. I still gotta… first of all, with a fight like this, you gotta go home, let things play out. Jon Jones isn’t even gonna want to hear the word ‘fight’ for two or three weeks. I can guarantee you that.  So we wait and we see what happens.”

Prior to the historic main event, surging UFC light heavyweight Glover Teixeira was promised the next shot at the 205-pound strap.

According to White, however, that may no longer be the case.  As is the conundrum with many contenders, Teixeira may have to take a back seat to one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history. Yes, the fight was that good.

“Maybe it is Glover,” said the non-committal White. “Maybe it is a rematch. I don’t know.”

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  • Timothy Malone

    Here is the Fight Metric link since so many are confused about the fight: http://hosteddb.fightmetric.com/fights/index/4420

    Cleary shows Jones winning three rounds if not four.

    • Arctiicwolf

      The problem with fight metrix, is that they record every little oblique kick and teep that jones throws out, which should not count as much as a hard punch to the face. In actual scoring, you look at much more than quantity to determine a winner, you also have to consider the quality of those shots. If you actually train, you find out real fast, that a shot to face is allot more significant than a oblique kick which essentially just controls distance. In addition you have to consider the take down Gustaffson got in the first, and the fact that he was continually stuffing Jones shots in the next two rounds. While that is not recorded, or scored, it does demonstrate octagon control, in that Jones wants the fight down, but Gustaffson is forcing him to stand up. Octagon control being one of the scoring criteria stated at the beginning of each fight.

    • Lucas Freire

      I really think you should watch the fight.

  • Oswald Cobblepott

    Gustafson was a game opponent but no need for the rematch, that outcome will occur in a second fight.

    • Sir_Roy

      I disagree. Gus gets better after each fight … specifically after each loss (well, more specifically, his one loss). His style matched up wonderfully with Jones. A rematch is definitely in the cards. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

  • Sir_Roy

    Awesome fight. Gus has won himself a fan. Keeps getting better after each fight. One of the few who says he worked and improved his wrestling … then came out and proved it to the world.

    Shows that perhaps more fighters need to swallow their pride, and work their weaknesses by training with the very opponent who first exploited it. No one better to put ones weaknesses into perfect context.

    Good job Gus. Love to see him get another round with Jones … but only after Tex’ well deserved title shot. Space between breeds more interest.

    • Arctiicwolf

      Can you imagine how incredible these guys would be if they trained together :P, but that kind of changes everything, but I would imagine that Gustaffson would incorporate some more unorthodox techniques, like the spinning elbow he attempted in the fifth, and Jones would really improve his fluidity and in and out movement, which was the trademark of Gustaffsons striking.

  • Bob

    Only way to beat Jon jones is to finish him your not winning a decision not with him being poster boy for the UFC

    • John Bunch

      Exactly.

    • Kris-tyahn

      I’m pretty sure it has less to do with being the poster child of the UFC, and more about he actually won the fight. Those who claim Gustaffson easily won rounds 1 & 3, need to watch the fight again. I watched the fight for the 1st time this morning, the 1st round was close, and if it’s that close, you usually give it to the champ. Not sure why people thought Gus won the 1st round hands down?!? The only 3 rounds that are for certain, are …. Round 3 = Gus, Rounds 4 & 5 = Jones, the 1st & 2nd rounds were that close, it could go either way. Like they say, if a fight is that close, you give it to the Champ, in order to be the Champ you need to BEAT the champ, Gus didn’t do enough to beat him. Jones 48-47, but if it was 48-47 Gus, I wouldn’t have really complained, but I would have asked, did he do enough to BEAT Jones?!?
      FYI: The ONLY champ who doesn’t get the nod if it’s a close fight is Edgar. He should still be LW Champ & he should have had to fight Pettis!

      • Bob

        All the Jon jones fans are in defense mode sad to know your beloved champ won by a bunch of body kicks and some spins why he got his jaw jacked

        • Arctiicwolf

          The truth is that Jones won off of oblique kicks to the knee, which had no effect on Gustaffson. While the whole time Gustaffson was landing significant punches to the face. Jones face told the story of the fight. aside from the take down in the fifth, and the spinning elbow, Jones did very little. I honestly dont see how anyone thinks he won any of the first 3 rounds.

  • TheCerealKiller

    The real winner was us, the fans. That was a great fight! Any time a fight is that close, it should go to the champ. You gotta beat the man, to be the man.

    • Flock of Burgers

      Damn rights!

  • John Bunch

    I definitely fell off my rocker last night over this fight…and maybe the beverages I was enjoying. Personally, I would love to see a rematch because I still believe Gus won. But…if it is so clear to everyone involved that counts that Jones deservedly won the fight, how do you justify a rematch immediately? Usually immediate rematches are reserved for champs that lose or fighters that White thinks got robbed. If Jones clearly won this fight, why doesn’t Gus have to get back in line and climb that mountain again and earn his rematch? Of course the UFC does what it wants when it wants to, but if they claim to be legitimate then I would have to assume they use some kind of pecking order to hand out championship fights. Personally, I’ve thought all along that Glover and Davis should fight for the next title shot…but with Gus out of the way and Jones having knocked off most of the top guys in the division…Glover would seem to be next, despite not having fought a top 5 guy. UFC is really starting to take their fan base for granted imo…I hope that doesn’t hurt their growth at some point.

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    Everybody counted out Gustaf and he put the biggest beating on Jones. That fight was awesome. If Gustaf had a little more conditioning in him he could have won that fight. Great job by Jones as well. I hope he doesn’t look down on any other opponent. I still want Phil Davis and Jones.

    • Kris-tyahn

      I think the only reason Gustaffson did so well vs. Jones was bc of height & his striking/footwork. I don’t see Davis doing much vs. Jones IMHO! Jones didn’t have the HUGE advantage he usually has, and it showed. Same was said for Silva, he didn’t have the size or reach advantage vs. Weidman & look what happened.
      I’d like to see Glover vs. Jones only b/c of his power, but he’s short so I’m not sure he’d get inside on Jones!

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        Whoa I like you and usually respect your comments but don’t compare Jones to the Silva/Weidman fight. But Davis and Gustaf are two different fights. Although those two fighting makes sense for a number one contender, they are two different styles and Jones needs both of them under his belt.

      • Lucas Freire

        Silva didn’t have the height/reach advantage on Okami,Sonnen,Forrest,Bonnar,Irvin and Lutter. He lost to Weidman because he fooled around and Weidman was the best man on that night. Nothing to do with height or reach.

        But this Jones vs Gustafsson fight just showcased how Jones’ stand-up game isn’t good. What lacked on Gustafsson was KO power, but he gave Jones a lesson on how to strike. That’s just as you said, he’s able to outstrike everybody because it isn’t that hard to do it when you have a 6 inches advantage over everyone

  • Flock of Burgers

    Only a little over 15,000 fans this time? The crowds in Toronto are getting smaller at every event.

  • Ron Wheeler

    Great fight, but no controversy so no way is an instant rematch warranted. I hate all these UFC rematch / trilogy things.

  • Harold Gagne

    no way it’s time for TEIXEIRA TO GET THE FIGHT NO MORE WAITING

  • The Boogeyman

    Why doesn’t some inquisitive journalist go interview Jon Jones a day or two after the fight and see just how badly Gustafsson beat the holy sh*t out of Jones’ face? Jones will be eating through a straw for a week! Only a moron could score that fight for Jones 49-46. Gus ran out of gas in the last two rounds, but he easily won the first 3 rounds, no question. Everyone in the arena booed when they heard this “decision.” Anything other than an immediate rematch would be ret@rded. Jon Jones is walking around with Gustafsson’s belt!