Alexander Gustafsson (pictured) punched his UFC light heavyweight top contender ticket when he punched Jimi Manuwa into the ground on Saturday.
Gustafsson will now get next dibs at the crown. That’s no surprise. What is surprising is “The Mauler” will either rematch reigning king Jon Jones or Glover Teixeira, whoever leaves UFC 172 with the hardware, in his next outing.
Therefore, Jones, who became the UFC’s most decorated 205-pound champion at the age of 26 after posting six straight title defenses, will not be granted an immediate rematch with Teixeira should he lose on April 26.
“If Jones wins, we have a nasty rematch,” UFC president Dana White said Saturday of pitting Gustafsson against Jones for Part II. “If he doesn’t, then it’s [Gustafsson] and Glover Teixeira.”
Jones took a (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) unanimous decision victory over Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September, but the verdict was far from unanimous in the minds of many pundits. White initially considered arranging an immediate rematch given the controversy surrounding the judges’ decision, but decided to go with Teixeira after re-watching the instant classic.
After handing Manuwa his first professional blemish, Gustafsson was certain his time had arrived.
“Jon Jones, I want my title shot again,” Gustafsson stated during his in-Octagon interview. “I’m right here. Whenever you want, man.”