Dana White Confirms Jones vs. Cormier for Jan. 3, Hints at Gus vs. Rumble

Hunter HomistekCorrespondent IAugust 14, 2014

UFC President Dana White speaks at a news conference after a UFC event in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

UFC President Dana White wants to clear the air in the UFC's light heavyweight division. 

The title picture unfolded like this: First, 205-pound champion Jon "Bones" Jones was scheduled to face Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson in a much-anticipated rematch at UFC 178 on Sept. 27. In late July, however, news broke that Gustafsson suffered an injury and had to drop off the card. 

In his place came Daniel Cormier, the undefeated former Strikeforce heavyweight champion who recently dropped to light heavyweight and rattled off two disgustingly dominant victoriesone TKO over Patrick Cummins and one submission over Dan Henderson. 

The trash talk between Jones and Cormier was intense—they brawled during media day in Las Vegas, and all signs pointed toward a blockbuster pay-per-view come Sept. 27. 

The MMA gods had none of it, though, and they sent the injury bug down to earth to nip at Jones' ankle and knee, forcing him out of the fight and into the operating room. 

Now, with the fight scrapped altogether, Gustafsson wants back in. He feels it's his shot, and he thinks Cormier needs to step back so the UFC can restore the card back to its original state. 

Speaking with UFC.com, White said the Swede's wish won't come true. 

"Gustafsson is upset, but it's not like we took Gustafsson out of the fight. Gustafsson got hurt and he's out," White said. "Cormier stepped in and accepted the fight, and this is the fight that is going to happen now."

Detractors, of course, can say now, since Jones is injured, the circumstances have changed, and these people would not be wrong. The UFC could logically replace Cormier with Gustafsson now that the fight has been bumped to Jan. 3, but White said there's no chance of that happening. 

"He (Gustafsson) fell out of the fight," White said. "Well, people can say, 'Now Jones is hurt.' Well yeah, but this is the fight that's happening now."

And while Gustafsson said he won't fight in the meantime, White sees him reconsidering that statement in the near future. The Swede will need money and to stay active, and the UFC president has the perfect opponent in mind to keep the ball rolling in the light heavyweight division: Anthony "Rumble" Johnson. 

While White provided no direct quote on the matter, the UFC.com article states that "White confirmed that Gustafsson vs. (Anthony) Johnson would probably be the fight that would make the most sense." 

Johnson is 2-0 in the UFC since returning at 205 pound in April 2014, notching a lopsided unanimous decision over Phil Davis at UFC 172 and following that with a vicious knockout of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC on Fox 12. 

Ranked No. 1 and No. 5 in the division, respectively, Gustafsson and Johnson would undoubtedly serve as a No. 1 contender's bout for the winner of Jan. 3's showdown between Jones and Cormier. 

In all, there are plenty of options in the light heavyweight division right now, and that's a great thing for business and for fans moving forward.