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Jon Jones wants Alexander Gustafsson in next title defense

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

NEWARK, NJ -- Jon Jones was in between winning his record-tying fifth UFC light-heavyweight championship title defense and getting the compound fracture on his left big toe addressed when he already began to plot his next step.

With Chael Sonnen now added to his hit list alongside Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, it is possible that Jones could attempt to defend the belt one more time in order to break Tito Ortiz's longstanding record and then move on to the heavyweight division. But there's still the matter of who that next light heavyweight opponent will be.

It is supposed to be Machida, who snuck past Dan Henderson in a split-decision at UFC 157. But asked his opinion on the matter, Jones had other ideas.

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"I fought Lyoto Machida before," he said. "And I fight for the love of the sport, I fight for the people that support me. But I also fight to prove critics wrong. A lot of people believe I've been successful because I appear to be larger than my opponents. With Alexander Gustafsson, that would be no more. So Alexander Gustafsson, a guy who is 6-foot-6 or 6-5, big long legs arms, long legs, that’d be great. and that’s who I’d love to fight next."

Gustafsson was supposed to fight against Gegard Mousasi on the April 6 UFC on FUEL 9 event in Stockholm, but was ruled out just days from the fight due to a cut near his eyebrow incurred while training.

Gustafsson should be ready to go fairly soon, but given Jones' likely healing time, UFC president Dana White wasn't ready to commit to anything regarding the two fighters.

"Alexander should have fought that night. He didn't fight," White said. "Jon Jones isn’t going to be fighting anytime soon apparently. He's got a compound fracture. When I went into the octagon, the bone was sticking out of his toe. I’m not a doctor. I don't know how long that takes to heal, but it can’t be too quick."

Asked whether a Jones layoff would make a Machida vs Gustafsson bout a possibility, White said he would first wait to find out how long Jones would be sidelined before making a decision.

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