Number one UFC light heavyweight title contender Alexander Gustafsson will not fight again unless it's for gold. That was the message from the Swede's manager, Manos Terzitane, Wed night on UFC Tonight.
"He will do whatever he can to not get passed by," Terzitane said.
"He will not accept any other fight than to be the next in line for the title against Jones."
Part of that message sounds simply like Gustafsson will sit out until he is once more offered a title shot, but by saying they want a shot against Jones, Gustafsson's manager also made it seem as though they may be holding out hope that Gustafsson can fight Jones in January, instead of Daniel Cormier.
Last September, Gustafsson lost a controversial decision to Jones in the fight of 2013. Instead of giving Gustafsson an immediate rematch as seemed warranted, Jones chose to fight Glover Teixeira in April.
After beating the Brazilian, Jones once more attempted to avoid fighting Gustafsson, but ultimately gave in to the UFC's desire for the two to rematch one of the greatest title fights in MMA history. Jones vs. Gustafsson II was set for Sep. 27 until Gustafsson pulled out with an injured knee.
Cormier then decided to skip a needed knee surgery himself and replace Gustafsson. The two rivals hyped their fight perfectly and the grudge match became perhaps even more anticipated than the Gustafsson rematch.
That is likely why, when Jones injured a knee and pulled out of the fight this week, the UFC decided to keep Jones vs. Cormier as the next 205 pound title bout, and simply move it to Jan. 3. The only problem is that Gustafsson, who long ago earned a title rematch - if not the light heavyweight title itself - should be healed up by January.
The contender has expressed his dismay that Cormier was keeping the title shot and that he may have to fight once more or wait until Jones and "DC" had settled things before fighting for the belt again. Gustafsson's manager's statements make it clear that Gustafsson is either looking to replace Cormier in Jan. against Jones, or at least not be compelled to fight once more before a title fight and risk his shot.
If you were Gustafsson, what would you do? Let us know in the comments section!