Gustafsson, freshly signed to a new deal himself, agreed to face Jones in a rematch of their 2013 title bout Aug. 30 on a card likely to take place in Las Vegas. In a post now surpassing 30K likes on Facebook, Gustafsson took full advantage of the delayed announcement Thursday by taunting Jones for failing to sign the bout agreement.
"Jon "Bones" Jones, 4 days have past and still no signature from you on that piece of paper from the UFC," Gustafsson posted. "As a Champ, accept my challenge. You have something that belongs to me and I want it. The fans are waiting, so come on now, stop delaying."
The surge in gamesmanship is another sign of Gustafsson's swelling confidence, something that took a giant leap since his five-round war with Jones at UFC 165.
"I learned a lot from that fight. As a person, I learned that I could push myself," Gustafsson told MMA Plus Thursday in Berlin. "We beat each other up. Now I know that we can push hard. I know that I can take a spinning elbow and keep going. I know now that he's not a super human. I know he's beatable.
"The [first] fight, I came out as the No. 2 guy. I got a loss, but at the same time I won a lot. I won a lot of fans and that means a lot to me as a fighter."
Those same fans awarded Gustafsson the cover of EA Sports' upcoming UFC video game, opposite Jones. A not so subtle reminder to UFC matchmaker Joe Silva.
"I think the game has a big part in it," said Gustafsson. "The people could vote and I won everything. They want to see a rematch. I'm super excited. I want the rematch and I want that belt."
As Jones rebounded in a return to form against Glover Teixeira in April, the win only emboldened Gustafsson further.
"He knows now, it's a bad fight for him. I think I'm a little bit in his head," said Gustafsson. "I know that I can beat him. I can take that belt and that's what I'm looking forward to do.
"It'll be a finish. I've done the distance thing before and I don't do it again. A finish and I'm taking that belt. Get ready. Get ready, man. It will happen."
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Get it together, Germany.
Tried to check out Berlin nightlife but got rejected at door & stuck in rain. Had flashback of my past lol... pic.twitter.com/qcs8P0rxMK— Georges St-Pierre (@GeorgesStPierre) May 29, 2014
James Krause (@TheJamesKrause) May 29, 2014
Get well soon.
Once I'm healthy I'd be more than happy to run this one back! Minus the freak accident and actually put on a fight! pic.twitter.com/XCEdEOMLRn— Jamie Varner (@jamievarner) May 30, 2014
I apologize to @GunniNelson and all of my fans for having to pull out of the fight. Thanks for all of the support!— Ryan LaFlare (@RLaFlare) May 29, 2014
There Should always be more than Just Two people excited when A fight goes down !!!— Edward Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) May 29, 2014
A little fun trash talk between me and Eddie has turned into fans ready to kill each other. Look what you did @Ealvarezfight— Will Brooks (@illwillbrooks86) May 29, 2014
'War against the scale'
Guerra contra a balança.... pic.twitter.com/JYp3IADtGA— Rodrigo Damm (@RodrigoDaMMA) May 30, 2014
Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) May 29, 2014
If you're interested.
Dan Hardy (@danhardymma) May 30, 2014
Just watched a sea turtle lay eggs & caught this on her way back to ocean! What an incredible day of experiences! pic.twitter.com/buvzu7zY6t— Matt Mitrione (@mattmitrione) May 30, 2014
Apparently not German, though.
Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 29, 2014
Announced yesterday (May 29 2014)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Da Headbanger.
A lot of people are very disappointed in this card. They see names like Stipe Miocic and Demian Maia and then they see their opponents and they can't help but say "What the hell?" Have you heard of the injury bug? Tommy Toe Hold does a pretty good job detailing his devilishness. I'm not going to promise fireworks since the last time I did that the fights ended up being stinkers (trying to cover my own ass now rather than sell you on anything). The way I look at it, if you are reading this you intend to watch anyway.
Story Thus Far: Lots of context needed here. Yes, Maldonado fights at light heavyweight. Yes, even if he didn't this fight would be a mismatch. Most of you are aware that Miocic was originally supposed to fight the former champ Junior dos Santos here, but a broken hand less than a month before the bout was set to take place required a quick fill in. And with the bout taking place in Brazil and the difficulties that can come from obtaining a visa, it narrowed the options down to a Brazilian. I'm not the happiest about it either, but Maldonado stepped up on the short notice at a weight class above him and at least we have a fight. Deal with it.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.