Alexander Gustafsson stopped Jimi Manuwa via technical knockout in the second round of their main event at UFC Fight Night 37, which took place earlier today (March 8, 2014) at O2 Arena in London, England.
The impressive finish (watch full fight video highlights here) cemented his status as the No. 1 Light Heavyweight contender in waiting, earning another title shot against the winner of the UFC 172 showdown next month between division champion, Jon Jones, and Glover Teixeira (read full details here).
And if Jones retains his world title, it would set up a rematch from UFC 165 in Sept. 2013, which featured a controversial -- and shocking -- split decision that went in the favor of "Bones," who was supposed to steamroll the Swede.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Jones was watching the Fight Pass main event with vested interest. But, unlike Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White, he isn't convinced that Gustafsson is the clear-cut next choice if he can hold of Teixeira.
His argument (via Twitter.com):
"Why not give the winner of Alexander and [Daniel Cormier] the winner of myself and Glover?? Call me what you want but I can't be the only person who thinks that makes perfect sense. I see DC congratulating Alexander and making comments about waiting his turn now. I wonder if they're afraid to fight each other? People who don't like to think are quick to call me afraid. Think about it, I'm asking for the meanest of the two would you face winner of Phil vs Anthony?
It's hard to argue that makes "perfect sense," considering that Gustafsson already took Jones to the brink just six months ago. However, although previously undefeated, Manuwa had few notable wins on his resume; in fact, his opposition is a "Who's Who" of ... who?
And, of course, we all know that Cormier just waxed a coffee barista, Patrick Cummins, in his Light Heavyweight debut at UFC 170 last month. "D.C." lauded Gustafsson on social media after his win and admitted that he had earned the next title shot, content to fight the winner of Phil Davis vs. Anthony Johnson to prove his worth as a contender.
But, let's remember that it was Jones' "bad ass decision" to fight Teixeira -- whose biggest win to date is over Quinton Jackson -- rather than give Gustafsson an immediate rematch. There's no going back now, otherwise the best mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter on the planet -- who has all the talent to be the best ever when he decides to retire -- does, indeed, seem worried.
That's a bad look for a very, very bad man.