Alexander Gustafsson is willing to give Jon Jones credit for a lot of things, including being the best MMA fighter of all time. But does “The Mauler” think Jones is a decent human? Not so fast.
Following his sensational five-round knockout of Glover Teixeira in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 109 at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden, the victorious Gustafsson met with the media at the post-fight press conference and weighed in on the forthcoming UFC light heavyweight title rematch between champion Daniel Cormier and the only man ever to beat “DC,” the former champ Jones.
Gustafsson didn't hide his feelings about “Jonny Bones,” at all, even calling him “his biggest enemy.”
“I don’t like him. I give him that he’s the best fighter of all-time, the best pound-for-pound fighter of our division; of course, everybody knows that,” Gustafsson. “He hasn’t even lost a fight yet, he demolishes everyone he fights.”
But outside the cage?
“But as a person, as a champion ... he’s not a champion, in my eyes. He’s not a good person, in my eyes,” continued Gustafsson.
The 30-year-old Swede has history with both Jones and Cormier. As a 6-to-1 underdog to the then-champion Jones at UFC 165 in Toronto, Ontario, Gustafsson helped author 2013's “Fight of the Year,” pushing Jones to the brink in a unanimous decision loss that swung on a spinning back elbow from Jones late in the fourth round. Just over 24 months later, Gustafsson got his second UFC title shot at UFC 192 in Houston, Texas and Gustafsson nearly knocked out Cormier before losing a narrow split decision.
“That’s why, I always tell the guys, ‘I hope that ‘DC’ wins, because I like the guy, he’s a worthy champion.”
With the sudden retirement of two-time title challenger Anthony Johnson, the defection of long-time contender Ryan Bader to Bellator MMA and a dearth of light heavyweight title contenders, Gustafsson's brilliant bashing of Teixeira may have put him in the on-deck circle as the man to challenge the winner of Jones-Cormier 2 at UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, California. It also doesn't hurt that “The Mauler” owns a knockout win, albeit three years old, over the only other apparent top contender, British puncher Jimi Manuwa.
“I’ve just been so close to winning the fights, I lose a little bit in the end, but we've changed our camp and our conditioning is on another level,” Gustafsson remarked on a potential rematch with Jones or Cormier. “Today, I’m not going to lose on the finish line again. It’s not going to happen. Today, I could go 10 rounds. I could go 10 rounds next time I fight DC or Jones.”