How much longer until Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson 2?
That's one of the biggest questions after the two put on an instant classic on Saturday night. ESPN's Todd Grisham wasted little time in predicting the fighters will meet in the Octagon again in the near future:
Jones wins by unanimous decision. I bet Gustafsson gets a rematch and soon— Todd Grisham (@GrishamESPN) September 22, 2013
It was an extremely close fight. The margin for error on the scorecards was minute, according to the UFC's official Twitter account:
In the end, you could see why the slight edge would go to Jones. According to FightMetric, he had 134 signature strikes to Gustafsson's 110, and 137 total strikes to his opponent's 114. In addition, each guy had one takedown.
The judge who scored it 49-46 was completely off, but a 48-47 decision to Jones makes sense—giving Jones three rounds to Gustafsson's two. The champion should inherit some sort of advantage, and the challenger didn't do enough to take the belt off of him.
However, those who thought Gustafsson won the fight have a valid argument as well. His blows seemed to be having a big impact. While he didn't have the volume of punches Jones did, he was able to do more with what he landed.
Gustafsson has at the very least earned himself another shot at the champion.
He was the second guy since Jake O'Brien at UFC 94 who went the distance with Jones. The other was Rashad Evans, and he wasn't as close to earning a win as the Mauler.
Perhaps more importantly, Gustafsson was able to send Jones to the hospital, according to Fox Sports' Ariel Helwani:
Jones is going to the hospital. He was just taken out on a stretcher, eyes closed.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 22, 2013
And this wasn't Bones getting hurt because of an errant kick, like what happened against Chael Sonnen. This was the champion taking such a beating that he to be carried off on a stretcher.
Regardless of your opinion as to who won, everybody has to agree that the two fighters must have a rematch at some point in the future. It would help to determine who is beyond a shadow of a doubt the better fighter. In a sport like mixed martial arts, there's no reason to have any unfinished business between fighters.
This is not to say that Gustafsson should immediately be handed a title fight again.
The Swedish star should have to move up the rankings again. After all, he had his shot at the king, and he missed. Once he picks up one or two wins, Gustafsson should be right up there again.
Saturday night shouldn't be the last time we see Jones and Gustafsson battle in the Octagon.