Alexander Gustafsson is finally getting another crack at former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones as the two lock horns for the undisputed 205-pound title at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The rematch comes over five years after Gustafsson originally lost to Jones via unanimous decision back at UFC 165, which remains one of the best UFC title fights of all time.
Leading up to the reboot, Gustafsson is feeling extremely confident. Maybe it’s because he’s a better fighter than he was back in 2013 or maybe it’s because Jones, who will be returning from his United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspension, has competed just twice since January of 2015. Either way, “The Mauler” is ready to roll.
“I don’t have the same respect for Jones as I did five years ago,” Gustafsson recently told MMANytt.
“I’ll knock him out in the fourth,” he continued. “Jon Jones’ head will bounce off the canvas in the fourth round.”
For the record, Jones has never been knocked out. In fact, minus his knockout victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 that was later overturned to a no contest and his disqualification against Matt Hamill back in 2009, Jones has never lost a fight. The closest he has ever come came against Gustafsson five years ago, but “Bones” ultimately defended his title even though he swears he didn’t train for the fight.
Gustafsson, who has played third fiddle to Jones and Cormier over the past couple of years, is arguably better than he ever has been. The 31-year-old is coming off a spectacular knockout finish over former title challenger Glover Teixeira last year and a three-round decision win over Jan Blachowicz back in 2016 in which Gustafsson flashed an evolved ground game to control Blachowicz with takedowns.
Only time will tell if Gustafsson can actually take out Jones, but it’s going to get real interesting over the next couple of months as the two light heavyweights begin to trade verbal barbs. This is simply just the tip of the iceberg.
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