Jon ‘Bones’ Jones punched, elbowed and pounded his way viciously to the UFC Light Heavyweight Title against Mauricio Shogun Rua at UFC 128 in March 2011.
This was after we saw him viciously tear through the division with only one loss and his extremely unorthodox moves that grabbed the complete attention of the MMA world.
Jones became the youngest champion in UFC history and now, at the age of 25, we can only expect that what we have seen is the tip of the iceberg and that there is a lot more to come from the New Yorker.
Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson on the other hand, who has been in the UFC since 2009, has not gained the same amount of attention as Jones did as a newcomer.
However, this does not mean that Gustafsson does not have a chance against Jones, in fact quite the opposite, as we have already seen a massive upset with Chris Weidman taking the Middleweight title from Anderson Silva.
In MMA, a single strike can put an opponent to sleep and Jones, as Gustafsson says: "We're all human beings. Everyone is beatable, and I'm here to prove everyone wrong, and that's how it's going to be."
The Mauler, fighting out of Stockholm, is an inch taller and a year older than the champion and Jones has utilised his towering height of 6”4 to dominate the division, but now there is a competitor who his taller than him.
Jones still has the largest reach of 84.5 to Gustafsson’s 76.5, but will the towering presence of the Swede present more of a threat to Bones?
Like many things in competitive sports, it will come down to simply who wants it more. Jones is one fight short of setting the record for the most title defences in the Light Heavyweight Division and with a win over Gustafsson he will have beaten Tito Ortiz’s record of five title defences.
Surely the win is vital to him as a fighter and his legacy. However, Gustafsson is by far the best fighter to come out of Europe and a win over Jones would mean everything for Swedish MMA and for European MMA as well, so the challenger acknowledges that a win over the champion would result in a huge boost.
Furthermore, Gustafsson has nothing to lose; the Mauler has come through the ranks and in the eyes of worldwide MMA he is not a household name like Jon Jones, yet a title would make him one.
If he loses, it is back to the drawing board and we will definitely be seeing him going for the title again with the likelihood of Bones still being the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
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