When the UFC announced Jones vs Sonnen, a huge majority of mma fans cried spectacle, reason was that Chael Sonnen doesn't stand a chance against Jon Jones.
Making Gustafsson vs Lil Nog is a bigger spectacle than Jones vs Sonnen.
Sonnen brings a different style for Jones that Jones was not use to, aggressive Olympic wrestling and relentless take down attempts.
Lil Nog on the other hand doesn't have anything to bring to Alexander Gustafsson other than keep it standing and take a beating. As a matter of fact his last fight with Rashad Evans was a snoozer.
Now people might say this is mma and Lil Nog might come up with the upset but i doubt anybody will say that with a straight face. As a matter of fact i doubt anybody will wager a 100 bucks on Lil Nog for the win without thinking twice about losing their money.
This right here is the reason why it will take MMA years to be respected like other legit sports like Soccer, Basketball, Football, etc.
Giving fighters easy match ups so they can fight for the title is nothing but a desperate attempt to protect a fighter who you think is not good enough to face tough contenders. We saw that with Chael during UFC 159 now it is happening again with Gustafsson vs Lil Nog.
When your top contender need protection to be able to fight the champ again you know something is wrong.
Alexander Gustafsson elevated his stock in his last fight as one of the big shots in the division so yes, criticism is allowed when a match up as bizarre as this one was announced.
Now people might argue how Gustafsson gave Jones his toughest challenge and all, let me clear this right here.
Gustafsson is not a great fighter. He has one trick which is boxing and good TD defense. (That will only get you so far, ask JDS). A true great fighter has to be diverse and versatile if you are not, you might just meet your Cain Valesquez who is a bad match up for you and you will get beat up.
It was recorded that Jon Jones shot for eleven Take downs but the truth of the matter is not all were Take down attempts. That fight was a clear stand up battle from the start, that was why Jones called Gustafsson out. He wanted to showcase his stand up because Gustafsson was a striker.
Jones shoot for a weak Double, when Gustafsson ducks to defend, Jones step back up with a vicious knee to the face. It is a set up, a move if done correctly can end a fight instantly. Just like the move where he fake the TD then meet you with a spinning elbow. Jones was doing that move all day and it was recorded as a take down attempt.
I scored four take down attempts with no set up what so ever due to desperation and one fully committed TD which Jones got in the fifth round.
DC and Hendo predicted that Jones will take GUS down and finish him because they knew that GUS doesn't have a ground game. There are several videos of GUS getting controlled on the ground easily online, the only thing he is good at is getting back up.The only guy that was able to keep him down finished him. Any good ground fighter that can keep Gustafsson down will finish him. The game plan is right there but did Jones follow it? No. If Jones wasn't trying so hard to beat Gustafsson at boxing he would have train more on his wrestling and finish the fight easily.
If Gustafsson is the champ without the belt according to some mma fans, then why is everybody so scared to see him go against DC? In Jones worst day of his career he beat Gustafsson in Gustafsson best day of his career at Gustafsson own game. That is saying a lot on how great Gustafsson is. Gustafsson vs DC would have erase any doubts of who is the true contender to the belt but thanks to the UFC both fighters get gimmes.
It is sickening how mma fans keep complaining about how the UFC is giving specific fighters easy fights but celebrated when the UFC is clearly giving Gustafsson and DC an easy path to the title because of fear that they might lose and ruin a money fight for them.
With this we can finally end the talk about Jon Jones not getting the toughest match ups. Jones is the only fighter in the LHW division who has fought the best at the time when they were still ridding a momentum, even Dana called it a monster row.
According to Dana White, everybody in the LHW top ten ducked Glover, Link here. Jones is the only guy who called him out. Yes Jones said Glover is not the man to beat him but since when is Jon Jones words gospel to the mma fans? Jones will never put any contender above him. That is his won way of building his confidence.
Glover Teixeira is the second toughest guy in the division. He possesses brutal KO power in both hands, brutal strength, Black belt in BJJ and great defensive and offensive wrestling, not to talk of the eight years undefeated momentum he is ridding on. And yes, Glover will beat Gustafsson if that fight was to happen. If Glover takes Gustafsson down that fight is over, if it stays standing and Glover connects over and over like Jones was connecting that fight is over. Glover took Rampage's best shots and still didn't go down.
Jones has beaten every single tough guy out there. Who has Gustafsson beat? Shogun Rua, a fighter who is in the downside of his career. Then you throw him Lil Nog? I am not even watching that fight for free. That doesn't mean i won't put the house on Gustafsson for the win.
Decisions like this can put a champion in a bad mental state because he is not thinking of beating only Glover right now instead he is thinking of beating three tough guys in a row, Glover, Gustafsson and DC. Why not just line all the tough guys in the division and have them take on Jones one by one without fighting one another because the UFC don't have confidence in them winning any meaningful fight with a tough contender.
Jones can take them all but will he get the respect from the mma fans after disposing all the top guys in LHW? Sadly that answer is no.There will still be doubters out there, doubters who are okay with the UFC giving Alexander Gustafsson a gimme fight.
When will we see a true contender earn the right to fight for the belt? Will we ever see a clear number two fighter go toe to toe with the champion or is it just a business that satisfy the blood lust of just bleed fans by giving them fights they want to see? Is mma all about selling tickets and pulling good ratings? Was it ever a sport? Will it ever be?
The UFC trying to set up both DC and Gustafsson with easy match ups just goes a long way to show how much MMA has shifted from a fast growing sport to a spectacle.