COMMENTARY | Swedish MMA fighter Alexander Gustafsson came close to becoming the first man to legitimately defeat the Ultimate Fighting Championship's current light-heavyweight Jon Jones at UFC 165 (sorry Matt Hamill, but disqualifications don't count).
It was arguably the most entertaining fight so far in 2013 as both men alternated rounds early on. Jones finally found an extra gear during the championship rounds, pulling off the come-from-behind victory, winning via unanimous decision.
Jones vs. Gustafsson was so entertaining, talks of a rematch began on social media before the final bell, marking the beginning of what will likely be another one of MMA's great rivalries.
Fans are clamoring for a rematch, but does Alexander Gustafsson truly deserve an automatic second shot against Jones?
The fact is: Jones was the clear winner of their UFC 165 tilt. I personally scored their five-rounder 48-47 in Jones' favor, but I don't have a problem with those who scored it 48-47 in the Swede's favor. However, given the fact Jones -- who was down a round on my scorecard heading into the championship rounds -- proved to be the better man when it mattered the most, it's hard to take anyone screaming robbery seriously.
UFC president Dana White said it best while talking to reporters at the 'UFC World Tour.'
"I did. I gave it to Jones," White said. "He definitely won the last two rounds. [Marc] Ratner had it even going into the fifth round and gave the fifth round to Jones… I'm trying to remember what rounds I gave him, but I had him winning the fight. I had him winning the fight, like, no doubt about it, like, no controversy whatsoever."
Besides, it's no secret that in combat sports, challengers have to beat the champion decisively in order to secure a decision. No surprise here that the judges gave some of the close rounds to Jones, so much so that a judge even scored the fight 49-46 Jones.
While a few might look at that score as evidence the fix was in against Gustafsson, a more rational person would probably point out the fact that judge only scored a round differently from a large number of people who watched the fight.
White remains open to the possibility of an automatic rematch, but he's clearly having a hard time figuring out what the right move is at this point.
"It does and it doesn't [seem like it's a good idea] in the fact that they're both young guys," White added. "Jones won the fight. The judges made the right decision. It was a great fight, it was a close fight, it was a war, you know, but the champion won. So maybe, Glover [Teixeira] fights next, and, we don't know. But I'm getting together with Lorenzo [Fertitta] on Wednesday and we're going to talk about it, see what we wanna do."
Make no mistakes about it, Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 will take place sometime in the future, and it likely will be just as entertaining as the first. It's just a matter of figuring out if Alexander truly deserves to jump the line, while others like Teixeira and Daniel Cormier are left hanging, based on what went down at UFC 165.
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