Equipped with an 11-match winning streak and the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, Jon "Bones" Jones doesn't appear to have anything to worry about in the world of MMA.
UFC president Dana White believes otherwise.
White spoke about the possibility of setting up a bout between Jones and Alex Gustafsson and mentioned whom Jones wants to fight in his upcoming match, per Matt Parrino of UFC.com:
Just to clear up a couple things, people think we're in contract negotiations with Jon Jones - we're not. Jon Jones still has five fights left on his contract. So what we're doing right now is trying to get him to sign the bout agreement for Gustafsson. He doesn't want to fight Gustafsson. ... Lorenzo and I have a meeting with Jones on Thursday to get him to sign the bout agreement, and he's asking to fight Cormier instead.
Jones and Gustafsson already squared off in the ring before in September 2013, with Bones coming out on top in a five-round unanimous-decision win. Rather than returning to the octagon with Gustafsson, Jones would rather fight an unfamiliar opponent in Daniel Cormier, who recently defeated Dan Henderson and moved to 15-0 overall.
With that match potentially on the back burner, Cormier discussed his interest in fighting Gustafsson, per Franklin McNeil of Sports World News:
I know this will probably be unpopular, but if [Jones] won't sign, whether it be for money or a lack of wanting to fight the kid, I'll fight Alexander Gustafsson. But it should be for the interim title...If they're putting a belt on the line, I don't care what date it is. It was never about Jones, I just want the title...Besides, it'll work out better for [Jones]; he won't have to fight both of us.
As for the reasoning behind Jones not giving Gustafsson a chance at the rematch, Elias Cepeda of Yahoo doesn't believe it's out of fear:
At the end of the day, it’s the responsibility of the promoter to make the fights happen. If a promoter wants a professional fighter to fight somebody, they have to pay him or her to fight.
With Jon Jones, the UFC seems to simply be stuck in negotiations with less leverage and less fighter complicity than they are used to. Clearly, Jones isn’t afraid to fight Gustafsson - he’s already done it once before.
Jones currently holds a 20-1 record and essentially sits at the top of the UFC throne, but this is clearly a fight MMA fans are crying out to see. Whether or not he thinks he's above fighting Gustafsson a second time, it's a match that is destined to happen again in the future.
Though Bones has made his way to the top of the UFC, denying a huge fight for the fans might not go over so well.
In the meantime, Jones might end up watching Gustafsson and Cormier fight it out rather than making it back to the octagon. If he denies Gustafsson his shot at the title, the two might just be dueling it out for the right to meet with him in an upcoming main event.
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