After stopping Glover Teixeira at UFC Fight Night 109 in Stockholm to get another step closer to a title shot, Jones’ name was brought up in the post-fight press conference. Holding nothing back, Gustafsson said what was on his mind about Jones.
“I don’t like [Jones],” he said. “I give him that he’s the best fighter of all time, the best pound-for-pound fighter of our division — of course, everybody knows that. He hasn’t even lost a fight yet, he demolishes everyone he fights. But as a person, as a champion, he’s not a champion, in my eyes. He’s not a good person, in my eyes.”
That response prompted Jones to come back with a tirade on Twitter, in which he questioned Gustafsson’s heart. During an appearance on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Gustafsson doubled down on his words about Jones, saying he regretted nothing.
“No, I stand by it,” he said. “The thing is, they had a press conference after the fight and they asked me about Jon Jones and I told them the way I feel. I just told them the truth. I’m not a trash talker. I don’t trash talk, I don’t do that sh*t. But they asked me and I’m not going to lie. I just felt like, he’s probably the greatest fighter we’ve seen. But as a person, I don’t like him.
“I don’t like how he’s talking on the stage, doing the cocaine thing, with so many young people, kids and everything, looking up to him. I just feel like, man, come on. I don’t support that stuff at all. So I just told the media what I think of him.”
Gustafsson gave Jones his stiffest test to date at UFC 165, taking a couple of the rounds in a close decision. That fight — given the heart on display, and the swinging nature of the narrative — is considered by many one of the best in UFC history. In the aftermath, there was even a picture that was put out from the hospital of the two warriors sharing a smile together, both battered from the encounter.
Yet as time has gone on, Gustafsson has lost respect for Jones. He has publicly said he will be pulling for current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, because “I like the guy, he’s a worthy champion.”
In Gustafsson’s eyes, Jones — who is fighting Cormier at UFC 214 in July, after serving a year-long suspension for banned substances — is not.
“He’s been getting caught for everything, it feels like one thing after the other, but the way he was sitting on the stage with DC and he just said he did cocaine a week before he fought him,” he told Ariel Helwani. “He’s not even embarrassed telling that stuff, he’s just proud telling that stuff. For me it’s just, you don’t do that, come on — not [with] being such a good fighter.
“And he’s been doing so good, nobody’s been able to compete with him. He’s been pound-for-pound the best guy, and I believe he is. He hasn’t lost. He hasn’t lost yet to nobody. So that’s just how I feel.”
When it was mentioned that Jones had made concessions for his performance against Gustafsson — in which Jones said in one interview that he believed he was going to lose as he walked to the cage, after having partied so much beforehand — the Swedish fighter smiled.
“Well, I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I just know he was in shape for that fight, and I was in shape for that fight, and in many eyes, people believe I won that fight. And this may be one of his excuses. He didn’t dominate me like he’s been dominating everybody else. It was a tight fight, but I just think that was one of his excuses that maybe he didn’t finish me or he didn’t dominate me, or didn’t win every round. So, that’s just the way he talks.”
Gustafsson said he was among those who believe Jones has done PEDs — even during his own fight with Jones.
“I believe so, I believe so,” he said. “I think he’s been doing a lot of stuff that he shouldn’t be doing. It’s tragic to say, but I believe he’s been doing sh*t he shouldn’t for a long time.”
The 29-year-old Jones last fought at UFC 197 in 2016, in which he scored a unanimous decision victory over Ovince Saint Preux. He was supposed to fight Cormier at that event, but Cormier was forced out of the bout with a foot injury.
In his time away, Jones had posted pictures of himself bodybuilding, which led to speculation that he might be enhancing his physique unnaturally.
Asked if he was alarmed by Jones’ appearance for that fight, Gustafsson said it was tough to say.
“Well, you know, he hadn’t been in the cage for a long time when he fought him,” he said. “I don’t know. I don’t know if he was on it or not for that fight, but I believe he was when we fought and stuff like that. But anyway, it’s history now and new times are coming, and we probably will fight again some day.”