If Jon Jones is guilty of “ducking” anything, it’s hordes of questions from the media and fans relating to the delayed signing of the contract for the Alexander Gustafsson rematch.
The UFC light heavyweight champ has once again made himself out to be the bad guy by not signing on the dotted line of an August title bout agreement. During the UFC 173 post-fight media scrum, White penned August 30 as a tentative date for the highly anticipated light heavyweight rematch.
Initially, it was believed that the contractual holdup was based around negotiations of a “new deal” with Jones. White claimed the UFC had inked Gustafsson to a new deal, and they were working on doing the same thing with Jones.
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.
Perhaps the most annoying aspect of this entire process is the fact that fans have yet to hear Jones’ side of the story. Some have even tried to reach out to the champ on Twitter to get a feel for his current mental state.
The infinite mass of speculation is creating a circus of drama that can quickly be voided by an honest interview from Jones. Maybe he is upset at the UFC because of his matchups, as he alluded to when speaking to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani back in November 2013, saying that they “save all the dogs for me.”
Jones seems to believe the UFC is setting him up for the murderer’s gauntlet of opponents, while the toughest guys are rewarded with the “easiest matchups to get a title shot.” After losing a close unanimous decision to Jones, Gustafsson was granted a rematch after defeating unproven light heavyweight contender Jimi Manuwa.
If Jones gets past Gustafsson, Daniel Cormier is waiting the wings. The former heavyweight contender’s only wins at light heavyweight have come over former coffee shop employee Patrick Cummins and an aged Dan Henderson.
“You want [Gustafsson] to have the rematch that bad? Let’s see Gustafsson vs. Cormier,” Jones told Helwani. “…Let’s see some of these top contenders fight each other. Either way, I’m going to fight the toughest dudes anyway so it doesn't matter what journey they’re on, but I definitely am noticing that it just seems like these top contenders aren't really fighting other top contenders at all.”
There is also the other possibility to consider.
Perhaps Jon Jones isn’t quite ready to relive the hell that Gustafsson took him through in the first fight.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.
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