Former two-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson may have recently underwent a shoulder surgery, but “The Mauler” is still aiming to face the winner of the 205-pound title bout between Daniel Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir at January’s UFC 220.
Yet there’s an opponent he still wants to fight aside from “DC” or “No Time,” and that’s understandably disgraced former champion Jon “Bones” Jones, who he fought to a close split decision defeat in an all-time classic at 2013’s UFC 165. That won’t be happening anytime soon, unfortunately enough, as Jones is currently awaiting his hearing for a disappointing second USADA test failure prior to his third-round knockout win over Cormier in their rematch at this July’s UFC 214.
It was nothing Gustafsson hadn’t seen before, so when he was asked about the jaw-dropping transgression during an appearance on The MMA Hour, the Swedish star said he wasn’t surprised and actually felt sorry for “Bones” due to the talent he possessed:
“I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t surprised and I feel sorry for him. What can I say? I just feel sorry for him…that he’s got new things coming up all the time. I’m not surprised at all and I just feel sorry for him. It’s bad for everything. It’s bad for the sport.
“Look what he did to DC – he’s a beast. Nobody has done what he’s done and he’s just getting caught over and over again.”
Questioned why he would feel sorry for a fighter who had the fight game in his hand but let it slip away for all sorts of drugs, “The Mauler” revealed that he thought “Bones” obviously had something wrong with him to risk what he has:
“There must be something wrong with him, right? You know, you just don’t do that. How should I explain it? I just think he’s taking all the wrong decisions all the time and for that I am feeling sorry for him, basically.”
It can’t be denied that Jones has made mixed martial arts look bad in the public eye due to seemingly never-ending fight cancellations and an increasingly tainted legacy due to multiple performance-enhancing and recreational drug failures; however, “The Mauler” wants to face the controversial would-be G.O.A.T. one more time – if he could only show up to the Octagon drug-free:
“I want him back. I want another fight with him. I want to fight him at some point in my future career. I just want to fight him one more time and maybe for that reason I want to see him come back,” he said.
“But, at the same time, he’s been getting caught a lot of times. If he doesn’t come back, he doesn’t come back. I just feel like it’s sad for the sport and for the whole thing.”
Gustafsson then closed by offering a strange stance that Jones somehow still held the belt because of how he dispatched Cormier.
But even though he views “Bones” as the true champion, he wouldn’t let Cormier’s redeeming qualities go unnoticed:
“He has the belt. I want to fight DC for sure. I want that belt, but for me the real champion is Jon Jones of course because he has been destroying everybody in the division. Everything he’s done has not been done before,” stated Gustafsson.
“So, for me, he’s the real champion but I accept DC as a champion too. He’s a good guy and a good fighter and the only person he has lost to is Jon Jones. He’s the real deal and I think he’s champion material.”
The only major part of that logic that isn’t true is the fact that Jones simply is not the champion anymore, as he’s been stripped of the title an alarming amount of times to where it’s almost hard to remember all of the instances.
He certainly would be one of if not the greatest fighters in MMA history if he could only stay clean, yet the fact remains we just don’t know if steroids affected some, many, or all of his UFC fights, and if so, how much.
His head kick knockout of Cormier was a thing of beauty, but would it have happened if he had not been on steroids? “Bones'” team is claiming a tainted supplement once again, and he is facing a potential four-year suspension if handed the maximum penalty.
That might end any chance of Gustafsson getting his rematch – a fight he probably had little shot of actually getting in the first place.