UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has ruffled quite a few feathers with his recent refusal to fight No. 1 contender Alexander Gustafsson. ‘Bones’ has made it clear that he wants to face off with Daniel Cormier next, even going so far as to make a video saying that it’s “his career and not yours” (which was quickly deleted).
Much of the talk has been centered on Jones’ purported contract negotiations, which Dana White said were holding up his signing of the bout agreement. However, White later reneged on that statement, instead saying that Jones just doesn’t want to face ‘The Mauler’ again.
With both sides unwilling to back down, White met up with The Albuquerque Journal while in New Mexico for this Saturday’s (June 7, 2014) UFC Fight Night 42, clarifying his opinion that Gustafsson is clearly next in line:
“Gustafsson’s next in line. Even Cormier said, ‘Listen, I hope this whole things works out for me and I get the shot, but even I believe that Gustafsson deserves the next shot.’ (Gustafsson is) the No. 1 contender, he’s waited for this rematch and (Cormier) even agrees.”
White continued on about Jones and his antics, something that has become a trend in recent years:
“It’s just one of those things that sucks, to be honest with you. As soon as that kid (Jones) starts to build some steam and starts to become the star that you think he can be, he comes out and doesn’t want to fight somebody. You’re the champion, you’re the pound-for-pound best guy in the world, and he says he wants to be known as the best ever. Well, you don’t turn down opponents, you know what I mean? You’ve got to fight all the best in the world, anyway. You’re the man; everybody’s gunning for you.”
Love him or hate him, White makes a good point here. As the world’s No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter, anyone who has even a remote chance at fighting him will be looking to take that chance.
The champ wants to go down as the best to ever step in the Octagon, but his attitude may be holding him back. It’s pretty obvious that Gustafsson, who took Jones to the maximum limit at UFC 165, deserves a rematch.
Jones has the potential to be MMA’s next big crossover star with Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre both injured and nearing the end of their primes.
But he should already be there.
How much longer will his insistence on choosing his own opponents hold him back? Or is it just a media ploy to get people to tune in to see him lose Floyd Mayweather-style?