UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is quickly running out of viable opponents to face in the 205-pound division.
UFC president Dana White recently confirmed that Dan Henderson will get the next title shot against Jones, but who waits in the wings for the champ if he defeats Henderson?
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva will have his work cut out for him, but one name keeps popping up when the subject of 205-pound contenders is discussed and that’s Alexander Gustafsson.
Gustafsson is on a five-fight win streak. He’s an inch taller than the six-foot-four Jones, but is at a reach disadvantage. They each have one loss on their resumes, although Jones’ lone defeat came by disqualification in a fight he was about to finish.
A striking battle between the two would certainly be compelling, but Jones doesn’t see any similarities between the two other than their height.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate people are comparing us,” said Jones.
“The only similarities that we have is we’re both tall, and that’s it. We’re completely different athletes. I have a wrestler base where I shoot and throw from the clinch, I kick fast and accurate; he has really great boxing,” continued Jones.
Jones isn’t sold on Gustafsson’s contender status. He feels the Swedish striker needs to win a couple more fights before being considered for an opportunity at UFC gold.
“Alexander Gustafsson, I think he’s pretty close to a title shot. I think maybe if he wins two more fights against some top guys, maybe like Lyoto (Machida) or Rashad (Evans) or somebody, somebody that can push him in different categories,” said Jones during the UFC 145 pre-fight press conference.
“I’d like to see him against another wrestler and I would like to see him against a worthy striker. Then I think a title shot would be very appropriate,” added the light heavyweight titleholder.
While Jones feels Gustafsson is a couple of wins away from challenging him for the belt, he enjoys watching Gustafsson fight.
“I like his demeanor, though,” said Jones. “He has some swagger. He exudes winning from the second he steps in the cage. I think the kid has the potential to be a star.”