Alexander Gustafsson is still gunning for a rematch with Jon Jones almost four years removed from their initial meeting at UFC 165 in 2013.
Gustafsson is currently the No. 1-ranked light heavyweight in the UFC after dismantling Glover Teixeira in Sweden last month. “The Mauler’s” victory has most likely earned him the next nod at the 205-pound crown but nothing is set in stone quite yet. Just below Gustafsson in the rankings at the No. 2 spot is the Swede’s former opponent-turned-friend Jimi Manuwa, who will take on Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 214 on pay-per-view (PPV) next month.
If Manuwa is able to muster up another impressive knockout win, it could certainly make things hard when it comes to deciding who will challenge for the light heavyweight strap next. During a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, however, Gustafsson said he’d be happy for Manuwa if he’s gifted the title shot (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“Well, I haven’t spoken to Dana [White] yet, so let’s see what happens,” Gustafsson said. “If Jimi gets it, I’m happy for him. So let’s see what happens.”
“I’d probably have to fight another guy, we’re not fighting each other,” he said. “We’re brothers now, and we’re training hard together. So that’s how we look at things. I’m just happy if he gets the fight, and we’ll take it from there.”
As for who the champion will be when either Gustaffson or Manuwa get the nod, that is still to be determined as current champ Daniel Cormier is set to defend his title against former division kingpin Jon Jones. Gustafsson has been in the Octagon with both men, who took him the distance after a pair of epic slugfests.
“The Mauler” is excited to see Jones and Cormier rekindle their rivalry come fight night next month, but would love to see Cormier come out on top as he believes he’s a ‘worthy champion’:
“I’m excited to see the fight first of all, and I have to be honest, I like DC,” he said. “For me he’s a worthy champion, he’s a good guy. I hope he wins, but I wouldn’t say no to a fight against Jon Jones either. That’s the fight people want to see, and I will fight him. So, let’s see what happens.”
Jones and Gustafsson put on one of the greatest UFC title fights in the history of the promotion, but never got the opportunity to rematch each other due to a variety of issues making the fight. Since the loss, Gustafsson has won three of his last five Octagon appearances and is currently on a two fight win streak.
Gustafsson has campaigned for a rematch with Jones for quite some time now, and believes Jones wants to get back into the Octagon with him just as much as he does:
“It’s one of those fights you really want. I want that fight, and I know the fans want that fight. And I know he wants the fight, too. So, yeah, probably.”