Jon Jones is getting the opponent he wanted after all.
Alexander Gustafsson is injured and will be unable to face Jones at UFC 178 on Sept. 27 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the UFC announced Wednesday. In Gustafsson’s place will step undefeated Daniel Cormier, the man Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, was hoping to fight in the first place.
Earlier this summer, Jones haggled with the UFC over his next title challenger. Jones preferred Cormier, someone he has never fought before, while the UFC wanted him to rematch Gustafsson, the man who gave him his toughest fight.
Gustafsson has a knee injury, the UFC said in a release. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani is reporting that he tore his meniscus.
Cormier (15-0) is coming off a dominant win over Dan Henderson at UFC 173 in May. Afterward, he called out Jones and said he would wait to face the Jones-Gustafsson winner rather than taking another fight. Cormier was supposed to have knee surgery this month to clean up some longtime injuries, but now has opted against it after getting the title shot, his PR director Heidi Seibert confirmed with FOX Sports.
Gustafsson (16-2) is ranked No. 1 among UFC light heavyweight contenders and pushed Jones to the brink in a five-round classic last September. He knocked out Jimi Manuwa in March to set up the rematch, though now it appears he’ll have to wait longer.
Jones (20-1) is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. He dominated Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in April to retain his title and has more light heavyweight title defenses (seven) than any other 205-pound champion in UFC history.