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UFC 232: Jon Jones no longer treating Alexander Gustafsson like a ‘knockoff version’ of himself

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Jon Jones is very open about not taking his first fight against Alexander Gustafsson — which went down five years ago at UFC 165 — too seriously, partying and drinking alcohol at all hours of the night the week before the championship showdown.

Still, “Bones” did just enough to edge “The Mauler” out on the scorecards after five rounds of back-and-forth action that saw both men take a trip to the hospital afterward. But now that Jon has gotten a taste of what Alex has to offer, he won’t treat him like a knockoff version of himself when they collide at UFC 232 on Dec. 29, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I was getting used to people saying things like, ‘He is a lot like Jon Jones with better hands and better footwork.’ Everybody was saying he was a Swedish version of me,” said Jones during a recent stop on UFC Unfiltered podcast.

“In my head, I was thinking he’s tall, has a presence about him, but he is not me. There is only one me, and it was almost an arrogance that I had. I was feeling like I was a product and he was a knockoff version of me.”

Jones learned a very valuable lesson that night, which is why despite not being 100-pecent sober, he won’t be partying too much and will train properly for his do-over against “The Mauler.”

“What he showed me was, hard work can beat talent when talent isn’t working hard. And that is such a true thing. I know I wasn’t doing the right things. I was in the heyday of my partying. Now I know what he is capable of and I will treat him as such. I will train for him like it is supposed to be,” he concluded.

For as much that has been made of Jon’s extended absence from the sport due to a second failed drug test, Gustafsson has actually missed more time away from fighting than “Bones,” sitting on the sidelines for the past 18 months when compared to Jon’s 16.

So when the cage door slams shut, there shouldn’t be an excuse of ring rust coming from any fighter, or lack of training, as “Bones” is adamant he will take his return bout very, very serious.

You’ve been warned, Gus.