The UFC and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones engaged in an extended struggle over who he would fight next. Having edged out Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in Sept., Jones wanted to fight undefeated former Olympian Daniel Cormier. However, the fans, and therefore the UFC wanted a rematch with "The Mauler."
The fans won. Jones fights Gustafsson on Sept. 27 at UFC 178 in Toronto.
And Jones said he was delighted with final outcome, which presumably came with a healthy cut of the PPV.
However, during the negotiation, UFC president Dana White did not seem to be enjoying it.
"It’s just one of those things that sucks, to be honest with you," said White to the Albuquerque Journal. "As soon as that kid starts to build some steam and starts to become the star that you think he can be, he comes out and doesn’t want to fight somebody. You’re the champion, you’re the pound-for-pound best guy in the world, and he says he wants to be known as the best ever. Well, you don’t turn down opponents, you know what I mean?"
Jones appeared on ESPN's MMA Live, and defended his stance.
"That's funny," said Jones, as transcribed by David St. Martin for MMAFighting. "I think it was handled the way it had to be. The UFC had to do their certain strategies and things to get the fight done and I had to do my own strategy to get the fight agreed upon. We ultimately came up with something that worked for both of us. Now the fans get what they wanted, which is most important.
"I'm always learning. Every scenario that I've faced in my career is educational for me and I just take it all in and try to apply it for the future."
"In some ways that Gustafsson fight was my strongest showing. To finish that fight the way I finished it and display the heart that I did to remain being the champion, to beat Tito Ortiz' record* that very same night. I would give that one of my top showings."
"A successful showing for me is just for me to go out there and dominate. I've been able to dominate everyone I've ever faced except for Gustafsson in that first fight and success for me is to not only win this fight, but to dominate it."
*For most consecutive UFC light heavyweight title defenses, with eight.
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