Dana White: Anthony Johnson Makes Sense as Alexander Gustafsson’s Next Opponent

By Tristen Critchfield Aug 15, 2014
Dana White (left) likes the idea of an Alexander Gustafsson-Anthony Johnson bout. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Alexander Gustafsson believes that he, not Daniel Cormier, should be facing Jon Jones for the light heavyweight championship on Jan. 3. In the meantime, the Swede is willing to wait for the title shot that he believes belongs to him.

UFC President Dana White has other ideas. White recently told UFC.com that he expects “The Mauler” to take a fight before he gets a crack at the Jones-Cormier winner.

“Gustafsson will probably fight again. We'll probably do another fight for him," White said. "He'll probably fight again to stay active, stay top of mind and the guy has to make money.”

According to White, that fight could be against Anthony Johnson, who has been devastating in a pair of 205-pound appearances since returning to the UFC. Of course, such a pairing is far from official – especially since Gustafsson has been angling for a rematch with Jones.

Gustafsson was originally scheduled to meet Jones at UFC 178 before withdrawing from the bout with a knee injury. Cormier took the Alliance MMA representative’s place against Jones, but that fight was postponed when Jones suffered a knee injury of his own.

“Gustafsson is upset, but it's not like we took Gustafsson out of the fight. Gustafsson got hurt and he's out," White said. "Cormier stepped in and accepted the fight and this is the fight that is going to happen now.”

Gustafsson gave Jones the most difficult test of his UFC tenure, battling the champion for five hard-fought rounds before dropping a unanimous decision last September. Many observers scored the fight in favor of the Swede, setting the stage for a highly-anticipated rematch.

Since then, the hype for Jones-Cormier has taken hold, thanks in large part to a media day brawl and an off-air exchange following an ESPN interview. Regardless of what Gustafsson wants, White says that Jones-Cormier is a lock for UFC 182.

“The reality is we had Gustafsson versus Jones: He was the number one contender; that was the fight. He got hurt," White said. "He fell out of the fight. Well, people can say, 'Now Jones is hurt.' Well yeah, but this is the fight that's happening now.”


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