Swedish MMA fighter Alexander Gustafsson gave UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones a serious run for his money last September.
His striking saw Jones leave the cage a battered fighter, but he remained the pound-for-pound best MMA fighter in the world and the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light-heavyweight champion. Jones nabbed a narrow split-decision over Gustafsson — who naturally felt shorthanded after such an impressive effort.
Jones is now set to welcome Brazilian mixed martial artist Glover Teixeira to the title picture. On April 26th at UFC 172, Jones is expected to face the 2nd degree BJJ black belt, hoping to once again reign victorious against another veteran MMA fighter.
The winner of Jones-Teixeira must give Gustafsson a title shot, stated UFC president Dana White at the Gustafsson-Manuwa post-fight presser: “If Jones wins, we’ll have a nasty rematch. If he doesn’t, it’s [Gustafsson] vs. Teixeira.”
Last weekend, Gustafsson stopped Manuwa in two rounds at UFC Fight Night 38 in London, England.
Gustafsson, 27, has a 16-2 MMA record with ten early knockout finishes. Like Jones, he’s a lanky light-heavyweight who can finish a fight in many different ways. From the knee which sent Jimi Manuwa to the floor in his last fight to elbows, RNCs, and a good, old-fashioned punch to the jaw, this mixed martial arts practitioner doesn’t play games inside the Octagon, at least until his occasional post-fight celebrations, where he demonstrates his acrobatic skills freely.
Jones and Gustafsson are so alike, yet so different. A rematch will be a 50/50 fight, and unless Teixeira shocks the world, we can expect to see one of the most exciting rematches in MMA history by the fall.
That, my friends, is virtually guaranteed.