Jon Jones opening on BestFightOdds.com as a -800 favorite in his title bout against Alexander Gustafsson is likely to surprise few.
Gustafsson opened at +500 (5-to-1 underdog) for the bout. Back in October, MMAJunkie.com reported Chael Sonnen's initial odds at 4-to-1 for his bout with Jones. Coming in late as a replacement to face Jones, Vitor Belfort opened at just over 6-to-1, according to MMAWeekly.com.
Gustafsson's odds could have been worse. Still, the odds do not exhibit a vote of confidence from the bookies.
In the past, Gustafsson had been labeled one of the few challenges left for Jones in the division. That sentiment seems to have softened in recent months.
While Gustafsson has a solid fanbase, the majority of MMA enthusiasts are likely to side with the early odds. A short list of key factors work against Gustafsson and are the cause of his perceived slim chances.
"Mauler" has yet to push five rounds in his career. He has reached the final bell in three-round bouts only twice. A majority of his fights have finished within the opening round. Quick stoppages usually work in a fighter's favor when it comes to odds, but Gustafsson's ability to keep up with Jones for 25 minutes is in question.
Fans and bookies alike are cooling on Gustafsson in part due to his most recent decision victories. His wins over Thiago Silva and Mauricio Rua were solid, but not spectacular.
It is no secret that it will take something more than a solid performance to beat Jones.
Finally, Gustafsson's one loss is hard to ignore. Phil Davis came into his bout with Gus possessing many of the same advantages Jones will have at UFC 165. Davis utilized his long reach to control the stand-up before easily controlling Gustafsson on the canvas. It is hard to imagine Jones will not use the same attributes and skills to snatch another victory.
There is plenty of time to see the odds change for Gustafsson. For now, he will have to swallow any pride he had coming into the bout and simply look to shock a majority of the MMA world as a solid long shot.