News broke during UFC 173 on Saturday that the highly anticipated rematch between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Swedish contender Alexander Gustafsson was almost a done deal. ESPN's Brett Okamoto posted the news on Twitter:
Breaking: UFC targets Aug. 30, Las Vegas for Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson rematch. Gustafsson already accepted. http://t.co/MLHgtGwc4M— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 25, 2014
Jones has not accepted Gus rematch yet, but offer is out there, per Lorenzo Fertitta. Gus verbally agreed today.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 25, 2014
Jones and Gustafsson first faced off in September at UFC 165. While The Mauler was a huge underdog entering the fight, fans were treated to a highly competitive battle. The bout was regarded by many as the best mixed martial arts fight of 2013, but fans were shocked when Jones passed on a rematch, instead opting to face Brazilian slugger Glover Teixeira.
Gustafsson would go on to face Jimi Manuwa in London in March, beating him badly en route to a second-round knockout. Similarly, Jones faced Teixeira in April and beat the Brazilian in lopsided fashion at UFC 172.
A title bout seemed like an inevitability given the fan reception to their first showdown, but Jones has seemed generally reluctant to accept the bout, saying that Gustafsson and fellow light heavyweight standout Daniel Cormier should fight for a title shot.
In April, UFC President Dana White told reporters that Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 could go down in Sweden. Gustafsson is an absolute sensation there, and a stadium show headlined by the title bout would be incredibly lucrative for all parties. That, however, seems to be off the table, as UFC 177 is slated for Las Vegas, Nevada.
As stated by Okamoto, the only barrier left for this bout is for Jones to put pen to paper. Stick with Bleacher Report for more updates on the card as they become available.