Jon Jones: Are Cormier and Gustafsson Afraid to Fight for Title Shot?

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Jon Jones: Are Cormier and Gustafsson Afraid to Fight for Title Shot?
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been accused of ducking a rematch with top contender Alexander Gustafsson, as well as a bout with undefeated former Olympian Daniel Cormier. 

However, "Bones" maintains that he welcomes any and all challengers at 205 pounds and questions if perhaps Gustafsson and Cormier are purposely avoiding an obvious fight with each other. 

Gustafsson headlined UFC Fight Night 37 Saturday night in London, scoring a vicious second-round knockout over previously undefeated prospect Jimi Manuwa.

As Jones noted, Cormier, the No. 5 light heavyweight in the UFC's official rankings, acknowledged "The Mauler" is next in line.

For what it's worth, Cormier was quick to respond to Jones and state that he had no problem throwing down with Gustafsson in a title eliminator to decide who gets the next crack at UFC gold.  

He also noted that he doesn't think Jones is avoiding a fight with anyone. 

Gustafsson battled Jones for the light heavyweight strap at UFC 165 in September in a 25-minute classic, losing a very close, at least somewhat controversial decision. 

The back-and-forth technical battle was widely regarded as 2013's Fight of the Year.

Jones, who has won 10 straight bouts with eight finishes, looks to make it seven straight title defenses against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 on April 26.

Is booking Cormier vs. Gustafsson in a title eliminator the right move for the UFC's light heavyweight division, or would it be smarter to keep two viable contenders in the division who are primed for a title shot? 

John Heinis is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for

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