Jon Jones isn’t trying to get more money out of the UFC. He’s trying to get a different opponent.
UFC president Dana White told UFC.com on Monday that Jones wants to defend his light heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier next instead of Alexander Gustafsson. The UFC already has a date and venue for a potential Jones-Gustafsson rematch — Aug. 30 in Las Vegas — and White said over the weekend before UFC Fight Night in Berlin that he wasn’t happy Jones had not signed the bout agreement.
What we’re doing right now is trying to get [Jones] to sign the bout agreement for Gustafsson. He doesn’t want to fight Gustafsson.
"People think we’re in contract negotiations with Jon Jones — we’re not," White said. "Jon Jones still has five fights left on his contract. So what we’re doing right now is trying to get him to sign the bout agreement for Gustafsson. He doesn’t want to fight Gustafsson."
In the fifth episode of UFC Embedded before UFC 173, CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said in a meeting with White and other UFC execs that they were looking to extend Jones’ deal.
"We’re going to walk him through why it makes sense to fight Alexander Gustafsson and we’re going to make an offer to extend his contract," Fertitta said.
White told UFC.com that he and Fertitta have a meeting with Jones on Thursday to persuade him to sign the Gustafsson bout agreement.
Jones, 26, beat Gustafsson last September in a five-round decision and one of the best fights of the year. Some felt Gustafsson should have been given the nod on the judges’ scorecards. Gustafsson is coming off a knockout of Jimi Manuwa in March, while Jones dispatched Glover Teixeira by unanimous decision at UFC 172 on April 26.
Cormier and Jones have bad blood and nearly came to blows three years ago after an MMA awards show. After Cormier submitted Dan Henderson at UFC 173 on May 24, he called out Jones.
This isn’t the first time the UFC and Jones have been at odds. Jones refused to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice in September 2011, which led to the cancellation of UFC 151. White blamed Jones for the event being ruined.