UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Alexander Gustafsson put on a performance that was not only the best of their respective careers, but quite likely the best championship bout that the 205-pound division has ever seen.
At the UFC 165 post-fight show, analyst and UFC contender Chael Sonnen echoed that sentiment, heaping praise on both fighters.
“This was the greatest fight in the light heavyweight division ever,” Sonnen said. “The story of this fight was the head kicks and the elbows of Jon Jones. But he was challenged. Jon went for 10 takedown attempts, but he only got one. You need fights like this for your legacy. You find out, does he have the guts? Jon came back after losing the first round and proved he was the best.”
UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz agreed with Sonnen, citing the champion’s diversity and adaptability and the challenger’s skill and cunning as the factors that made the fight such a classic. As with many who witnessed the battle, he also called for a rematch.
“Jon Jones made the adjustments throughout the fight and was able to get the W. He came out and fought like he was down and just kept going,” said Cruz. “Jones wasn’t getting the low kicks, so he started going high and kept Alexander from circling and he started to keep him in a box where he could control him. Alex had some great footwork and stopped the wrestling of Jones. He got out of the clinch as quickly as he could. He kept the distance and kept it a striking fight. Both these guys showed a lot of heart. I think they should fight again.”
Jones and Gustafsson both received six-month suspensions for the damage they sustained in the bout, so the potential rematch will have to wait until both men are healed and cleared for battle.