Jon Jones NEEDS to Defeat Alexander Gustafsson
By Christopher Jester
Jon Jones put on a master class of technique in last Saturday’s UFC 172 main event against Glover Teixeira. From striking with his rangy limbs to fighting in the clinch with such a powerful striker, Jones looked amazing in a five-round battle that showcased his durable chin and his willingness to test himself. With such an engaging battle but obviously one-sided victory over such a dangerous opponent, many have already began to name him as the greatest UFC fighter of all time.
Let’s pump the breaks on that for a second. Jones is talented and is the best light-heavyweight the UFC has ever seen. But let us not forget that there is one fighter he barely toppled. Before Jon Jones can be considered as the best of all time he still needs to best Alexander Gustafsson as convincingly as he has beaten his other opponents. Only then can he remove the stigma of his first fight with Gustafsson. Only then can we truly appreciate his greatness without second-guessing whether Gustafsson is his foil.
Yes, there are other opponents who could give Jones a worthy challenge. Daniel Cormier is likely the top choice but let’s not forget the hotly revitalized Anthony Johnson. Cormier has his strength and wrestling pedigree. Johnson has superb takedown defense and also has power in his hands. While these two are challenges that eventually Jon Jones will face, it is not the one that fans are clamoring for.
But the problem with Jones is that he is doing all but say he is ready to face Gustafsson again. It is what the fans want but not want the champion wants. The issue here is this lack of enthusiasm in facing his toughest opponent again is glaring. It actually puts a chink in this aura of invincibility. Haters of Jones are quick to say that cowardice is pouring out of this fissure. And perhaps they are right. However, for Jones to remain this semi-untouchable champion he has to face his fear in Gustafsson.
This rematch has the potential to create a large buildup and coming off the momentum of the performance Jones put on at UFC 172, this is the perfect opportunity for the UFC. But with PPV buys aside, this is the fight the fans want to see for Jon Jones. Jones mistakenly created his arch-rival when fighting Alexander Gustafsson. He created an enemy who fans are spearheading to be the man to defeat the longtime champion. Gustafsson has a cavalry of support and nothing is more tantalizing than having a match where the champ is so polarizing that some want to see him lose just for the heck of it.
The UFC Light-Heavyweight champion has a stiff test ahead of him. No matter if he wants to fight Gustafsson again or not – he has very little choice. The only way for Jones to start receiving talk of the greatest of all time is for him to defeat the man who took him so close to the edge. Once he topples that challenge, maybe… just maybe can Jon Jones receive the proper nomination as one of MMA’s greatest in history.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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