Jon Jones finally picks on someone his own size.
The light heavyweight champion still has detractors despite defending his belt three times and defeating four former champions consecutively. The detractors primary argument against Jones is that he always has a significant size advantage over his opponent.
Enter Alexander Gustafsson.
The fast-rising Swede stands at 6'5" and has a 76.5" reach. It isn't quite the insane 84.5" reach of Jones, but Gustafsson is taller than the 6'4" Jones and is one of the longest fighters in the UFC.
Some feel that Gustafsson could ultimately be the fighter to put Jones in legitimate trouble for the first time in his career. At this point, anyone that can be thrown at Jones in the light-heavyweight division, qualifies for dream fight status.
Why It's Just a Dream
Gustafsson isn't nearly ready for Jones, and by the time he is, Jones may be ready to move to the heavyweight division.
Gustafsson has a bright future in the UFC.
He has the potential to hold the title one day but not as long as Jones resides in the division. Gustafsson has looked impressive in his last few outings—knockout victories over Matt Hamill, Vladimir Matyushenko and a unanimous decision victory over Thiago Silva have put him on the map.
However, Jones moved beyond that level of opponent long ago and has continued that dominance against the best in the division.
Gustafsson needs to defeat a top-five opponent before he can be named a true threat to Jones just yet, and even then, it will be questionable if his length and footwork are enough to give Jones any trouble.
Why It Could Happen
Because Gustafsson will develop. Every time we see Gustafsson step into the octagon, we see a noticeably better version of himself than what we saw in the previous outing.
In Gustafsson's most recent fight—the decisive victory over Silva—we saw a much more confident version that showed a very developed sense of timing and range in the striking department as he totally neutralized the powerful Silva's attacks.
This is the kind of development we have seen from Jones.
With the constant comparison to Jones, and a suddenly short supply of true contenders at 205, we will eventually see this fight, whether Gustafsson is ready for the challenge or not.