Following his win over Chael Sonnen at UFC 159, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has his eyes set on Alexander Gustafsson, the fighter said late Saturday.
Jones retained his 205-pound title with a first-round TKO of Sonnen, and was later asked who he would like to defend his belt against next. In an effort to prove doubters wrong, Jones said fighting Gustafsson would be great for him.
“A lot of people believe that I’ve been successful because I appear to be larger than my opponent, and with Alexander Gustafsson that would be no more,” Jones said during the UFC 159 post-fight press conference.
The critics, Jones said, argue that his significant size advantage over his opponents is a reason for his success in the Octagon. Gustafsson, who stands at six foot four, is one of the few light heavyweights that match Jones in stature while at the same time ranks near the top of the division.
Jones said he thinks the fight would be a good opportunity to show he can compete with someone with a similar frame.
“So fighting … Gustafsson, a guy who’s six-foot-six, six-five, pretty long arms himself, long legs,” Jones said, “would be a great thing and that’s who I would love to fight next.”
Gustafsson is currently ranked No. 2 in the UFC’s divisional rankings behind former champ Lyoto Machida. With Machida as the No. 1 contender, chances are he would get the next shot. But if Jones is asking for Gustafsson, UFC brass may lean towards the desire of their champion and grant him his request.
After all, Jones is out to prove his size isn’t his most outstanding attribute. And against Machida, a fighter he finished at UFC 140 in December 2011, Jones hinted that he wouldn’t be able to silence critics by fighting someone he has already beaten.
“I’ve fought Lyoto Machida before,” Jones explained. “I fight for the love of the sport. I fight for people that support me. But I also fight to prove critics wrong.”
Jones broke his toe during his UFC 159 fight, and is out of action until his injury is cleared by an orthopedic surgeon, according to a report by Sherdog.com. UFC officials have yet to comment on a proposed Jones-Gustafsson match-up.