No one has come closer to handing Jon Jones a legitimate defeat during his career than Alexander Gustafsson when they met back in 2013.
Gustafsson came up just short that night but he pushed Jones to the brink in a way that no other opponent has done before or since their fight. Ever since that fight, Gustafsson has anxiously awaited his chance to do battle with Jones again.
In fact, Gustafsson said when speaking to Joe Rogan on his podcast on Monday that beating Jones would mean more to him than actually becoming UFC light heavyweight champion.
The way Gustafsson sees it, Jones is the best fighter in the world today if not the greatest of all time and holding a win over him would add more to his legacy than a title belt wrapped around his waist.
“Winning over Jon Jones is bigger than taking the belt,” Gustafsson said. “The guy is such a beast. Fighting him and beating him, that’s bigger than taking the belt right now. That’s how I feel.
“Look what he did to DC (Daniel Cormier) and DC is tough. He finished DC. That’s just insane.”
Gustafsson hoped to accomplish both of those goals following his last win over Glover Teixeira as he positioned himself as the No. 1 contender in the light heavyweight division yet again.
His plan was to fight Cormier in a rematch to win the 205-pound title and then hopefully entice Jones back for another fight after he was eligible to return to action.
The problem is Jones remains on provisional suspension after he tested positive for steroids last year and now faces up to a four year sanction following his second violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy.
Gustafsson added that he doesn’t believe Jones purposefully cheated but then again this is the second time he’s tested positive for a banned substances during his career so he has no one to blame but himself for what’s happening to his career right now.
“I know for a fact he’s been in that situation a couple of times. This is not the first time,” Gustafsson said. “But the thing is, it’s so stupid. He’s the best guy pound-for-pound out there. He’s done things nobody else has done. He’s just a beast and s–t comes up all the time.
“He doesn’t even need steroids, he doesn’t even need that s–t in him. He’s still the best guy out there.”
For now, Gustafsson remains in a holding pattern as Cormier prepares for his showdown against heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in July while Jones is still awaiting word from USADA on any potential punishment he might face from this latest drug testing scandal.