UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was able to avoid an immediate rematch with Alexander Gustafsson but he very well may end up fighting the Swede on his home turf before the year is out. Jones defended his belt in dominant fashion Saturday night at UFC 172 against Glover Teixeira and at the post-event press conference, talk turned to who "Bones" will take on next.
"Gustafsson gets the next fight against Jones," UFC president Dana White announced.
Prior to UFC 172, Whtie had said he expects Jones to fight once more in 2014 after the Teixeira fight.
Since pushing Jones closer to defeat than anyone had ever done before last September only to lose a controversial decision, Gustafsson scored a finish over Jimi Manuwa. At the UFC 172 post-presser, White not only said that the top contender will challenge Jones next, but that the fight could take place in Europe - specifically Sweden.
"We gotta see how that plays out. I don't know, physically, how Jones is right now...[But] we've got to take the fight wherever the fight is going to do the best," said White.
"This thing could do 50 or 60,000 seats or more. If we go to Europe to do it, we will."
White seems to believe that a rematch of the greatest light heavyweight title fight ever will be a big hit in Gustafsson's neck of the woods and, if the champ doesn't much like the idea of having to give up home-court advantage, it doesn't much matter. “Jon’s going to agree to whatever fight we make,” said White.
“What’s Jon going to agree to? Where’s he going to want to fight? Seattle?
“Sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. We don’t ever have people say, ‘This is where I’m going to fight my fight.’ It’s never happened. It won’t happen. We’ve got to take the fight wherever the fight is going to do the best.”
For his part, Jones didn't want to hear talk of Gustafsson immediately after his impressive win over Teixeira. "I don't really want to talk about... I don’t really wanna talk about that kid at all,” said Jones.
“I’m not gonna talk about him at all. No, man. I’m having a good time. I just won a fight.
“I have no clue when I want to fight again. I’m not really thinking about the future at this point. I just want to live in the moment right now and just be grateful with what’s happening right now.”
No one can blame Jones for feeling that way right after a tough, five-round fight. It will be interesting to see if Jones vs. Gustafsson II does indeed have a chance at being made outside of the U.S.
Should the UFC take the rematch to Europe, White went on to say that it would be held and aired at normal U.S. times, not changed to take place at a decent European hour. That decision would likely be an effort to have the best of both promotional worlds - White seems to believe that the match up would be big enough in Europe to sell out an arena, even early in the morning but by keeping it at the normal U.S. PPV time-slot, the UFC would not lose out on potential buys from American fans unwilling to purchase an event at an unusual hours.
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