Prior to his fight last month against Jimi Manuwa in England, top rated contender Alexander Gustafsson was getting a little fed up with all the questions about UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
He understood that people were legitimately enthusiastic about the potential rematch he could score with Jones if he beat Manuwa, but the fact was at the time Gustafsson still had to get past the undefeated knockout artist. Well, Gustafsson took care of that in quick order, knocking Manuwa out in the second round of their main event matchup.
Now a few weeks removed from his fight while waiting for Jones’ next title defense against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172, Gustafsson is more than happy to talk about the champion and his potential rematch against him later this year. Jones still has to beat the Brazilian veteran currently riding a 20-fight win streak later in April to ensure there will be a rematch, but as much as Gustafsson believes people may be underrating Teixeira, he still doesn’t see him winning the fight.
As a matter of fact, Gustafsson believes Jones chose Teixeira for his next fight as opposed to a rematch with him because he knew it was a winnable matchup.
"He’s a very dangerous opponent. I think he’s a good fighter in every aspect — he’s a good striker, good wrestler and he puts everything together and he hits very hard," Gustafsson told FOX Sports about Teixeira. "My prediction is I think Jones will win because I think Glover’s a typical opponent for Jones. Jones wants to fight him because it matches up very good style wise."
He just knows that I’m a really bad matchup and he knows that we will fight one day. He knows that, but he’s trying to avoid it as long as he can
— Alexander Gustafsson on Jon Jones
Following Gustafsson’s win over Manuwa and a victory by new 205-pound threat Daniel Cormier in his light heavyweight debut, Jones questioned the possibility of the two contenders fighting each other for a chance to get at his belt.
Gustafsson has been assured he’s getting the next crack at the belt, so when he saw Jones’ comments all he could do was smile and enjoy a good chuckle at the champion’s expense.
"It was, for me, it didn’t make sense at all," Gustafsson said about Jones’ Twitter message. "I was more laughing about it."
As strange as the message appeared to be, Gustafsson doesn’t think that Jones is somehow afraid to fight him given his standing as champion. What he does believe is happening, however, is Jones just delaying the inevitable rematch he will have with the Swedish contender, knowing that he is the biggest threat to take the title.
"The thing is he knows — he knows I’m a really bad matchup for him. He knows that," Gustafsson said about Jones. "I don’t think Jones is scared or he’s trying to run or anything like that. He just knows that I’m a really bad matchup and he knows that we will fight one day. He knows that, but he’s trying to avoid it as long as he can."
Gustafsson said he will not be in attendance for the upcoming fight between Jones and Teixeira in Baltimore, instead opting to watch the title bout from the comfort of his own home. As soon as that fight is over, Gustafsson expects the UFC to give him a call so he can know when and where he’ll be facing the winner for his shot at the title.
"It feels great, I can’t wait," Gustafsson said about his upcoming title shot. "The future looks very good and I’m very excited."