Alexander Gustafsson is not a fan of Jon Jones, who he’ll battle for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 232 on December 29. The Swedish contender believes professional fighters should be role models, and that Jones’s actions outside the cage make him anything but.
“I’m not a fan,” Gustafsson said at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas earlier this week (via MMAjunkie). “We’re all role models here. We have to represent the sport good. I’m not a fan at all. But we’re not here to be friends. We’re here to compete.”
While Alexander Gustafsson won’t be sending Jon Jones a Christmas card this year, he can’t deny his upcoming foe’s ability. In fact, he considers Jones the best to ever to do it.
“When I say he’s the best, I really believe he’s the best,” Gustafsson said. “That’s why this fight motivates me so much. This is the best fight – I’ve wanted this fight from the start.”
Gustafsson, of course, is well-acquainted with Jones. The pair fought for five, tooth-and-nail rounds in 2013, with Jones ultimately walking away with a controversial unanimous decision and the light heavyweight belt.
Gustafsson has been angling for a rematch ever since.
“I’ve been thinking about it, of course, multiple times,” he said. “But right now, we have a new fight coming up right here. The history is just the past, nothing else. This is it. I’m here to beat the guy that’s never been beaten and beat the best guy out there. I’m motivated. I want to fight right now. I’m feeling great. I’ve never been in this good of shape in my life.”
At UFC 232, Jon Jones will step into the cage having not fought since July of 2017, when he knocked out light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier with a head kick. Unfortunately, this bout was promptly ruled a no contest when it was announced Jones had failed a pre-fight drug test. The title was returned to Cormier, and after more than a year of deliberation, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), handed Jones a 15-month suspension. Because this suspension was retroactive to the date of his failed test, he was eligible to compete again at the end of this past October. Jones is a fantastic 22-1 (1) overall.
Alexander Gustafsson, meanwhile, has not fought since May of 2017, when knocked out former title challenger Glover Teixeira in a rousing fight. With this win, the Swedish contender moved onto a two-fight streak, having also recently bested surging contender Jan Blachowicz by decision. Gustafsson is 18-4 overall.
Who do you think will come out on top when Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson step into the cage for a second time at UFC 232?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/23/2018.