After saying that he would prefer to face Daniel Cormier in his next bout, Jon Jones has changed his mind and agreed to defend his title against Alexander Gustafsson on Sept. 27, UFC officials announced on Thursday evening.
The 205-pound title fight will headline the UFC 178 pay-per-view, which is scheduled to take place at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
“I think Cormier is the tougher fighter, but the fans want to see me fight Gustafsson. There was never an issue with taking the Gustafsson fight,” Jones said in a statement. “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. 27. This was a personal decision for me. I will be at my brother's wedding and have a proper training camp.”
Jones said earlier this week that he desired a fight with Cormier, wanting to pass on a Gustafsson rematch, saying he had already beaten the Swedish challenger at UFC 165 in September 2013.
UFC President Dana White around the same time said he and UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta would meet with Jones Thursday in an effort to convince him to sign the bout agreement for the Gustafsson rematch.
White referred to the signing as a win-win because fight fans will watch the highly anticipated rematch, and if Jones comes out on top he'll face Cormier.
“Two great fights in the light heavyweight division with three of the baddest guys in the world: the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and champion Jon Jones, and the No. 1 and 2 contenders,” White said.
In a show sportsmanship, Cormier wished Jones the best in a post on Twitter.
“Good luck @JonnyBones get er done! See u next year!” he wrote.
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