Following a week of posturing, hints and allegations, the UFC officially announced that Jon Jones would face Alexander Gustafsson in his next title defense with the new date for the fight taking place on September 27.
Jones and his manager Malki Kawa traveled to Las Vegas on Thursday to meet with White and UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta to hammer out the details about the champion’s next fight. It was reported just days ago that Jones was actually more interested in a bout against two-time Olympian Daniel Cormier instead of facing Gustafsson first, but the UFC continued to insist on the latter matchup.
Ultimately, it took a trip to the UFC offices for all parties to come together and get an agreement in place and now the fight is official.
"There was never an issue with a contract. I was traveling and finally got to Vegas and got to talk with Dana and Lorezno. We talked and September 27th, I’ll be fighting Gustafsson," Jones told UFC.com after the contract was signed.
There was never an issue with a contract. I was traveling and finally got to Vegas and got to talk with Dana and Lorezno. We talked and September 27th, I’ll be fighting Gustafsson
— Jon Jones
While Jones still believes the harder fight for him would be the matchup against Cormier, the UFC and the fans were on board with the Gustafsson rematch instead so that’s the fight that will happen. Jones bested Gustafsson in one of the best fights of 2013, but after a five round war it appeared the two light heavyweights would eventually clash again.
"I think Cormier is the tougher fighter, but the fans want to see me fight Gustafsson," Jones said. "There was never an issue with taking the Gustafsson fight. The issue was that my brother is getting married in July and I would have preferred a later date. I didn’t want to go this early and I would have preferred to go later in October or November.
"It is what it is. We have a date now, Sept 27th. This was a personal decision for me. I will be at my brother’s wedding and have a proper training camp."
Originally, the UFC was scheduling the fight between Jones and Gustafsson for August 30, but now the date will get pushed back a month to allow the champion a little extra personal time before getting back in the Octagon again.
The delay still leaves Cormier in the catbird’s seat as the No. 1 contender to get the winner, and doesn’t hurt him much considering he was already planning on having knee surgery following his win over Dan Henderson in May.
The September 27 card also reunites Jones and Gustafsson with the site of their original bout as well. UFC 178 scheduled on September 27 is set to take place in Toronto, Canada at the Air Canada Centre — almost exactly one year to the day of their last fight (UFC 165 took place on Sept 21 in Toronto, Canada).
UFC president Dana White was also happy with how things turned out, and now the entire world will get to witness one of the biggest rematches in MMA history — Jones vs. Gustafsson II.
"Obviously Jon is right, this if the fight the fans want to see," White said. "The great thing about this is, we get Jones vs Gustaffson, and if Jones beast Gustafsson, we get Jones vs Cormier. Two great fights in the light heavyweight division with three of the baddest guys