Top UFC light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson doesn't officially have a deal in place to fight divisional champion Jon Jones, but no one would know it based on the way he's hyping up this potential rematch.
I learned a lot from that fight. As a person, I learned that I could push myself. ...
We beat each other up. Now I know that we can push hard. I know that I can take a spinning elbow and keep going. I know now that he's not a super human. I know he's beatable. ... He knows now, it's a bad fight for him. I think I'm a little bit in his head. I know that I can beat him. ... It'll be a finish. I've done the distance thing before and I don't do it again. A finish and I'm taking that belt.
Gustafsson and "Bones" first traded leather at UFC 165 in September. The back-and-forth brawl was almost unanimously considered 2013's "Fight of the Year" by countless MMA media outlets.
While many fans, analysts and fighters alike believed the challenger did enough to unseat the seemingly untouchable Jones, the Greg Jackson's MMA product earned a narrow decision on all three judges' scorecards.
Gustafsson was told he'd get another crack at the belt if he looked impressive against previously unbeaten prospect Jimi Manuwa at UFC Fight Night 37 in March. The Swedish striker did just that, overwhelming "Poster Boy" with a flurry of strikes early in the second round.
The 27-year-old has won seven of his past eight fights, also defeating notables such as Thiago Silva and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua during that three-and-a-half-year stretch.
Meanwhile, Jones, the top pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC's official rankings, is riding an 11-fight win streak (eight finishes) and has the UFC light heavyweight record of six consecutive title defenses.
The Greg Jackson's MMA standout recently shined in a clear-cut decision over Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in April, routinely outstriking and outworking the Brazilian slugger.
While the UFC is aiming to make Jones vs. Gustafsson II for either late August or early September, the matchup remains a bit of a question mark, as the champion has not signed the bout agreement yet. He is currently negotiating a new contract, per MMA Fighting's David Doyle.
Will Jones vs. Gustafsson II happen no later than this fall, or will the details of Jones' new deal get messy and force the fans to sit back and wait awhile on this heavily anticipated rematch?