Jon Jones gets what Jon Jones wants, and the UFC light heavyweight champion wants to be nowhere near Alexander Gustafsson for the next few months.
ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto is reporting that Jones will next fight Brazilian slugger Glover Teixeira, likely at the Feb. 1 card in New Jersey. The news comes as a bit of surprise given the desire among fans, and UFC president Dana White, for a rematch between Jones and UFC 165 opponent Gustafsson.
White's reasoning behind his decision? "That's what the champ wants," White said, via Okamoto.
On Saturday, Jones and Gustafsson faced off in an incredibly exciting bout on that went to a hotly-contested decision. Jones ultimately had the edge on the scorecards, but many fans, media members and UFC fighters believed the judges should have favored the challenger.
Gustafsson nearly scored a TKO victory due to a large cut he opened over Jones' right eye in the first round, as the cageside doctor was close to stopping the fight before the fifth and final round. On top of the cut, Jones sustained an incredible amount of damage throughout the fight, and had to leave the arena on a stretcher immediately after.
Gustafsson was in relatively good condition outside of a laceration on his head, though he was visibly exhausted by the end of the bout.
Jones is likely to face a slew of allegations that he is ducking a rematch with the Swede. The champ previously refused a rematch with Lyoto Machida, the only other opponent to give him a hint of trouble, who he fought at UFC 140. Machida out-struck Jones in their bout before the champ rocked him with a hard right hand en route to a submission finish.
"I'm going to fight Glover and I will answer all the critics about the Gustafsson fight," Jones said preemptively. "I will fight Gustafsson after I fight Glover. I won the fight but I look at it as a blemish on my record because some people think I didn't. I promise you, he will be next."
Who should Jones face next?
Gustafsson does not yet know who he is going to fight, but he has a ballpark on when. The UFC is planning to return to Sweden in early 2014, and Gustafsson is being penciled into a spot in the main event.
In light of his performance against Jones, there are few potential challenges for Gustafsson on paper. However, a bout with current heavyweight Daniel Cormier makes the most sense.
Cormier has expressed a desire to drop to 205 pounds to fight Jones, but he is scheduled to fight Roy Nelson at UFC 166. Assuming he wins, he could make his light-heavyweight debut opposite Gustafsson in a sure-fire top contender match.