The story about what was going to happen took a number of twists and turns, but it ended mostly where fans thought it would: UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will face top contender Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch bout on Sept. 27.
The UFC announced the news on Thursday evening. That event will be UFC 178.
"There was never an issue with a contract. I was traveling and finally got to Vegas and got to talk with Dana and Lorezno. We talked and September 27th, I'll be fighting Gustafsson," Jones said via release.
"I think Cormier is the tougher fighter, but the fans want to see me fight Gustafsson. There was never an issue with taking the Gustafsson fight," Jones said. "The issue was that my brother is getting married in July and I would have preferred a later date. I didn't want to go this early and i would have preferred to go later in October or November. It is what it is. We have a date now, Sept 27th. This was a personal decision for me. I will be at my brother's wedding and have a proper training camp."
Jones, 26, is 20-1 in MMA and is coming off of a five-round unanimous decision win over Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in April in Baltimore, Maryland. He initially faced Gustafsson in the bout prior to Teixeira, at UFC 165 in September of 2013. Jones took a unanimous decision victory in a bout most observers contend is Jones' toughest to date and ultimately very closely contested.
Gustafsson, 27, is 16-2 in professional mixed martial arts and since facing Jones, has only fought Jimi Manuwa, which took place in March of 2014. The Swede stopped Manuwa via strikes in the second round of their main event bout.
"Obviously Jon is right, this if the fight the fans want to see. The great thing about this is, we get Jones vs Gustaffson, and if Jones beast Gustafsson, we get Jones vs Cormier. Two great fights in the light heavyweight division with three of the baddest guys in the world: the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and champion Jon Jones, and the number one and two contenders," UFC President Dana White added.