All it took was a little face-to-face meeting and everything is set between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.
After back-and-forth talk in the media and on social networking sites over the past few days, Jones sat down and hammered out the details in Las Vegas with UFC president Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta.
The rematch will take place at UFC 178 on September 27, officials announced late Thursday night. Jones won the first meeting last year via decision.
Jones asked for Daniel Cormier for his next title defense, but the UFC had promised Gustafsson a shot if he got by Jimi Manuwa. The Swede did, and “Bones” downed Glover Teixeira earlier this year, as well.
“I think Cormier is the tougher fighter, but the fans want to see me fight Gustafsson,” Jones said. “There was never an issue taking the Gustafsson fight. The issue was that my brother is getting married in July and I would have preferred a later date (the bout was previously reported for late August).
“I didn’t want to go this early and I would have preferred to go later in October or November. It is what it is. We have a date now. This was a personal decision for me. I will be at my brother’s wedding and have a proper training camp.”
White, who has been critical of Jones in the media, said, “Obviously Jon is right, this is the fight the fans want to see.
“The great thing about this is, we get Jones vs. Gustafsson and if Jones beats Gustafsson, we get Jones vs. Cormier,” White continued. “Two great fights in the light heavyweight division with three of the baddest guys in the world; the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and champion Jon Jones, and the No. 1 and 2 contenders.”
The card is expected for Toronto, the site of the first meeting between Jones and Gustafsson, but that information was not included in the press release.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski