Sorry, Jon Jones. It looks like you’ll have to stick to just being the UFC light heavyweight champion, because your days of playing matchmaker are over before they even began.
UFC president Dana White (pictured) is digging his heels firmly in the sand and denying Jones’ request to bypass a rematch with consensus top contender Alexander Gustafsson in favor of new blood in Daniel Cormier.
White allowed Jones to fight Glover Teixeira instead of granting Gustafsson an immediate rematch after Jones’ controversial unanimous decision victory over “The Mauler” in September, but now that Jones has disposed of Teixeira, Gustafsson gets next dibs – no matter how many Instagram videos Jones posts then deletes.
“Yeah, definitely. Gustafsson’s next in line,” White told the Albuquerque Journal. “Even Cormier said, ‘Listen, I hope this whole things works out for me and I get the shot, but even I believe that Gustafsson deserves the next shot.’
“[Gustafsson is] the No. 1 contender, he’s waited for this rematch and [Cormier] even agrees.”
Over 10 days ago, Gustafsson signed his bout agreement to face Jones on August 30 at UFC 177. However, Jones has yet put pen to paper because he has Cormier on his mind.
It’s no secret White and Jones aren’t BFFs. Tensions between the two reached an all-time high when “Bones” declined a last-minute scrap against Chael Sonnen to save UFC 151, which forced White to cancel the company’s first show under his then-11-year tenure as president.
The more things change, the more they stay the same…
“It’s just one of those things that sucks, to be honest with you. 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,” White said of Jones. “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? You’ve got to fight all the best in the world, anyway. You’re the man; everybody’s gunning for you.”
As of right now, White and Jones are engaged in a staring contest. Let’s see who blinks first.