A rematch between Jones and Gustafsson is not set in stone. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
It is no secret that the UFC would like to book a light heavyweight title rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.
A little more than a week ago, ESPN.com reported that Gustafsson had verbally agreed to face light heavyweight king Jones at UFC 177 on Aug. 30, a report which UFC President Dana White confirmed.
“We just signed Gustafsson to a new deal, and Jones is getting a new deal too,” White told reporters during the UFC 173 post-fight scrum. “We don’t have a deal done yet, so we’ll see what happens.”
As of Monday, things appeared to have changed quite a bit. There was no talk of a new deal for the Jackson-Wink MMA product, and Jones had a different opponent than Gustafsson in mind.
“Just to clear up a couple things, people think we’re in contract negotiations with Jon Jones -- we’re not. Jon Jones still has five fights left on his contract,” White told UFC.com. “So what we’re doing right now is trying to get him to sign the bout agreement for Gustafsson. He doesn’t want to fight Gustafsson. ... Lorenzo [Fertitta] and I have a meeting with Jones on Thursday to get him to sign the bout agreement, and he’s asking to fight [Daniel] Cormier instead.”
Not surprisingly, that statement prompted Jones’ critics to come out in force, with many claiming that “Bones” was attempting to handpick his next opponent. Jones, as has been his M.O. of late, took to Instagram to issue a response.
“Asking for an undefeated Olympic wrestler and Strikeforce champion makes me somehow a coward?” How about the fact that I beat Gustafsson already, whether you guys like how close it was or not,” Jones said in a video that has since been deleted. “It’s my career, not yours.”
Cormier is 2-0 in the Octagon since dropping to light heavyweight, most recently submitting Dan Henderson with a rear-naked choke in a dominant performance at UFC 173. Cormier then called out Jones during his post-fight interview.
“Jon Jones, you can’t run away from me forever,” he said. “I’m the kid at the wrestling tournament who is always in your bracket. No matter where you go, boy, I’m coming. You better hurry, because I’m getting better. I know that nobody can wrestle me. If I decide to take Jon Jones down 100 times, I’ll take him down 100 times. This is my Octagon. I’m the man.”
Meanwhile, Gustafsson, who lost a narrow decision to Jones at UFC 165, issued a statement of his own via Facebook .
“Jon Bones Jones, be a man, be a champ and sign that bout agreement and stop running. Keep in mind that after I beat you and become the champ I might be doing the same to you when you chase me for a rematch, as a revenge for not accepting my challenge,” Gustafsson wrote.
“Sooner or later you will have to face me, just make it sooner! The fans [want] this fight, UFC wants this fight and I want this fight, and I damn deserve it.”