Jon Jones has yet to come to terms with the UFC on a new contract or a finalized bout agreement to defend his light heavyweight title in a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson. UFC officials had previously announced that the fight is targeted as the main event for UFC 177 on Aug. 30 in Las Vegas but this past weekend, promotion president Dana White said that Jones has yet to sign on the dotted line.
“We just signed Gustafsson to a new deal, and Jones is getting a new deal, too. We’re doing a new deal with him," White said.
An episode of UFC: Embedded showed UFC co-owner and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White starting a meeting with Jones' manager Wayne Harriman to negotiate a new contract for the champion. The UFC is putting up the PR heat on Jones to re-sign with them promptly and to do the August fight with the Swede.
In addition to publicizing their negotiations with Jones' management, the promotion has made headlines by announcing that Gustafsson has signed on for the rematch. White also told reporters this past weekend that, should Jones not sign on to fight Gustafsson in August at UFC 177, the fight could then be made for a later date but in Gustafsson's home of Sweden.
The 26 year-old title-holder last fought and won in late April against Glover Teixeira. Jones refused to give an immediate rematch to Gustafsson after their razo-thin close war last fall and chose instead to fight the Brazilian.
Gustafsson's last fight was the month prior, when he stopped Jimi Manuwa in the second round. Jones has used his position as champion deftly thus far - avoiding the immediate rematch with his toughest foe and brushing off talk of Gustafsson's succes with excuses.
It is unlikely, of course, that Jones will not ultimately rematch Gustafsson. Jones has been, afterall, perhaps the most active top contender and champion in the promotion's history - fighting all-comers and often on short notice.
Do you think Jones is trying to avoid a fight with Gustafsson or simply being smart and using his leverage to secure a good new deal with the UFC?
Let us know in the comments section!