Despite talk about superfights reaching a fever pitch recently, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones knows whom he wants to fight next.
And guess what, it’s not the oft-mentioned Anderson Silva.
Following UFC 159 on Saturday night in Newark, N.J., the UFC’s youngest champion let it be known that he has his sights set on Swedish stand-up wizard Alexander Gustafsson.
Sporting a 15-1 record with a recent decimation of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to his credit, the 26-year-old phenom has been on the radar for quite some time.
Currently riding a six-fight winning streak, “The Mauler” is many pundits’ choice to be next in line to challenge Jones’ throne at 205 pounds. He brings an array of striking skills that he couples with unwavering pressure and timely aggression, and has been a credible threat to everyone in the division since making his UFC debut in 2009.
It should come as no surprise that Jones wants a crack at Gustafsson; as he’s made a career of taking on the toughest the division has to offer, no questions asked.
“I’ve fought Lyoto Machida before, and I fight for the love of the sport,” said Jones. “I fight for the people that support me, but I also fight to prove critics wrong.
“A lot of people believe that I have been successful because I appear to be larger than my opponents. And with Alexander Gustafsson that would be no more. So fighting Alexander Gustafsson, a guy who is six-feet-six or six-five, pretty long arms himself, long legs; I think that would be a great thing and that’s who I’d love to fight next.”
As with all things UFC, however, company president Dana White has his say. And he seemed to have reservations about a possible Jones vs. Gustafsson match-up happening anytime soon.
“Alexander should have fought that night, and he didn’t fight,” said White.
“Jon Jones isn’t going to be fighting anytime soon apparently. He has a compound fracture. When I went into the Octagon, the bone was sticking out of his toe. I’m not a doctor. I don’t know how long that takes to heal, but it can’t be too quick.”
Pressured further, a reserved White played it safe – especially considering the fact he mentioned that UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva called him earlier that night about a potential superfight.
“We’ve got to see what happens with Jones, how long he’s going to be out, and we’ll go from there.”
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