Alexander Gustafsson is out of his hotly-anticipated rematch with Jon Jones at UFC 178 and will be replaced by the undefeated Daniel Cormier.
UFC Officials announced the news this morning, revealing that Gustafsson has suffered a torn meniscus and that Cormier will delay his own knee surgery in order to fight Jones come September 27 for the light heavyweight championship.
Although it puts aside the rematch to 2013's Fight of the Year, this fight has all the potential of an all-time classic and will be one of the biggest tests of Jones' career.
Let the hype begin
It didn't take long for Jones and Cormier to exchange words, with the light heavyweight champ direct messaging Cormier on Twitter to say "I hope you're ready to come to daddy".
Jones quickly unfollowed Cormier, which prevented his reply but in the screenshot from Cormier's Instagram you can clearly see that Cormier is just as amped up.
After the ninja-esque Twitter skills of Jones, he then sent out a tweet saying: "This is the fight I wanted in the first place. Nothing like fresh meat #Champion2014".
For Jones, the news was welcomed. The champ had initially told the UFC, media and fans that he wanted to face Cormier instead of Gustafsson and laughed at suggestions he was trying to duck Cormier.
In one of many infamous social media outbursts from Jones over the years, he put up an Instagram video last month stating: "Asking for an undefeated Olympic wrestler, Strikeforce champion somehow makes me a coward? How about the fact that I beat Gustafsson already, whether you guys like how close it was or not. It's my career, not yours."
If anything, he and the UFC will be happy that they didn't follow up on the idea of hosting the fight in Gustafsson's native Sweden. While Jones-Cormier and the stacked UFC 178 card would've done well, it would not have had the same buzz without Gustafsson.
What does it mean for Gustafsson?
There's been no timetable laid out yet for Gustafsson's recovery, so it's hard to see just when he'll return and how that coincides with Jones' schedule.
Yet one thing that is expected is that if Cormier beats Jones, then Gustafsson will have to fight someone else as the UFC would likely go forward with a Cormier-Jones rematch, which has been the norm lately.
On the other hand, if Jones sees off Cormier then it would likely be that Jones-Gustafsson II happens early next year, likely around January or February.
For now, Gustafsson will be focusing on his recovery but come September, he'll be crossing his fingers for Jones to prevail and set up one of the biggest rematches in UFC history.
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