Back at UFC 165, fans witnessed arguably the best-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title fight when Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson put on an epic back-and-fourth five round war with Jones claiming victory by unanimous decision and a record-breaking sixth consecutive title defense.
Fast-forward five years and the pair are set to meet at UFC 232 for the vacant light heavyweight title. Gustafsson was a recent guest on The MMA Hour and said he’s beyond excited to able to share the Octagon once again with the man many believe to be the best mixed martial artist of all time.
“It’s just so much excitement,” Gustafsson. “It’s so much motivation. I got this fire in me and I’m just eager to get in there again. It’s been a long time for me since I fought, and like I said, I can’t ask for more. I can’t find a better way to get back in that Octagon than fighting Jon for the belt. It’s just massive, man. It’s massive.”
“The Mauler” knows what to expect when he meets Jones in December and won’t be taking him for granted even though Jones has only fought four times since the pair’s previous fight back in 2013.
“He’s a really talented fighter. He’s a very smart fighter,” Gustafsson said. “Whatever Jon does, in that Octagon he has a strategy and he’s a very smart fighter with a good eye, so you can’t relax. You can’t relax with this guy. You can’t even give him an inch. You have be on your toes the whole fight, you have to be ready the whole fight. So, that’s how I see Jon now. Jon has just been so impressive, that’s why he never lost. So, he is just that guy. He’s been beating everybody, so we all know how he is and how he’s been.
“He’s the best fighter in the world,” Gustafsson added. “For me, he’s the pound-for-pound best fighter, so like I said, I can’t relax for a second when I fight him.”
Despite a long list of indiscretions outside of the Octagon, Gustafsson still believes Jones is the best fighter the sport has ever seen, which would make beating him extra special in his eyes.
“100-percent,” Gustafsson said. “And when I beat this guy, it’s going to biggest thing ever, and it’s going to be a highlight in my career and it’s going to change my life, so that’s my motivation.”