While UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 was a commercial success, the main event didn’t live up to the first between the two light heavyweights. And I suppose in retrospect, how could it? Jon and Alex took each other to the absolute limit at UFC 165, with “Bones” digging deep and snatching the win from Gustafsson in the dying minutes of round five. UFC 232 saw Gustafsson hobbled by a groin injury in the first and finished in the third.
It’s just how the fight game goes. Who knows what would happen if we ran things back for a third fight? That’s the way Alexander Gustafsson’s manager is looking at things too. In a written interview with MMA Junkie, Nima Safapour discussed his client’s future.
“The plan is to come back stronger than ever,” Safapour wrote. “The fight was the fight. We still believe 100 percent that Alex can beat Jones. Just depends on the day. Anyone can win depending on the circumstances of the fight. It was not our day, but we will come back and get the title in due time either from Jon or whoever else is holding the title at that time. Expect to see ‘The Mauler’ back in action soon.”
As for Jon Jones’ strange pulsing steroid metabolite problem? Gustafsson wasn’t shy leading up to UFC 232 when asked if he thought Jones was cheating. “Yes, I do,” he said.
“We hold the same position about Jones as it relates to the doping controversy,” Safapour wrote. “Whatever he is doing, it smells terrible.”
”Absolutely no jet fuel was found on the murder scene,” Jones said, referencing an earlier tweet from Gustafsson. “Alex, just wanted to make sure you saw this. Seemed like that was the only thing you could focus on in our last fight.”
Well yeah, it was just one of the strangest drug testing fiascos in UFC history that resulted in the event getting moved to a different state last minute. We’re not surprised Gus was focused on it.
Maybe their next fight will go down without all the distracting drama. And it could happen sooner than you’d think. UFC 235 should tell us whether Jones can sell as many pay-per-views without a legit challenger like Gustafsson across the cage. If he can’t, we could see a third fight between the two before the end of 2019.