Last night (Sept. 21, 2013) in the main event of UFC 165, Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson put forth a truly inspiring effort at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The bout was for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight belt, a title that Jones has held since capturing it at UFC 128 in N.J. two years ago.
Neither man gave an inch, with Jones fighting for a legacy as the best 205-pound fighter of all time and Gustafsson fighting to become the top dog in the division. For five rounds, they stood toe to toe and traded punches. By the sound of the final bell, not only were both men physically exhausted, they were running on fumes.
At the UFC 165 post-fight press conference (watch video replay here), UFC President Dana White talked about the fight that is being discussed as one of the best of all time. White is usually the first to praise combatants who leave everything they have in the cage. But last night was different.
Instead, he described it in very realistic terms, albeit with a bit of hyperbole.
"You could tell in the last round both of those guys were fighting on pure heart," White said. "Both of them. Gustafsson had never been five rounds before, and he got hurt bad with those elbows in the fourth round. He got hit with some stuff in the fifth round. Jon Jones was busted up and kept moving forward. He pleaded with the doctor not to stop it in the fifth.
"Not that I can talk to this either, but I believe this is one of those fights where both guys felt like they were going to die. You feel like, 'I don't know if I can continue. I don't know if I can keep doing this. I don't know if I can go one more round,' if they even knew what round it was."
In discussing the bout with friends, I'd tend to agree. You can tell that neither man had ever faced that sort of adversity in either a fight or in training. It truly pushed them to their limits. A rematch is almost all but certain. I just hope that it can live up to the fight we saw last night.
For our complete live story stream of UFC 165: " Jones vs. Gustafsson" click here.