Alexander Gustafsson nearly dethroned the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in MMA last night, taking UFC Light Heavyweight Jon ‘Bones’ Jones the distance in a classic fight that many are already deeming one of the best fights ever.
Gustafsson was the first fighter to truly damage Jones throughout an extended period of time, and he even became the first man to take ‘Bones’ down. Both fighters were completely gassed and heavily injured at the bout’s conclusion and were rushed to the hospital immediately following the intense title fight.
Although both Jones and Gustafsson were unable to attend the post-fight press conference, Gustafsson did speak up about his performance, noting that he needed to push the pace even more than he did. He could be right, as Gustafsson seemed to trail ever so slightly in the championship rounds, allowing Jones to do a ton of damage with strikes. Still, ‘The Mauler’ is looking for an immediate rematch:
"I'm disappointed, but I'm very proud about what I did tonight…I learned a lot. Absolutely, I'm down whenever. I want a rematch right away if I can, but it's up to UFC. I'm just blessed to be in UFC and it was an honor to fight Jon Jones. I'll be ready whenever they call me."
Gustafsson is calm and collected in defeat. He’s most like to become a household name among casual MMA fans after last night’s performance, but it’s unknown if and when Gustafsson and Jones will be able to fight again.
White hinted at the Super Bowl Weekend card for a possible date, but depending on the medical diagnosis for each fighter, that could be slightly too optimistic. We’ll have to wait and see.
With two champions dethroned this summer, Jones survived a dangerous scare to emerge victorious is an all-out battle. Perhaps this is just what the champion needs, a quiet, respectful foil to his supposedly cocky and arrogant persona. Jones looked incredibly human last night, and Gustafsson’s skills seem to be evolving at an incredible rate. Will ‘The Mauler’ come back better than ever to wrest the belt from the iron grip of ‘Bones?’
Outer Photo: Tom Szczerbowski for USA TODAY Sports