The rematch is on.
Thursday night, the UFC officially announced UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones will put his belt on the line against Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch of their 2013 Fight of the Year.
Jones took to Twitter to express his excitement.
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) June 6, 2014
This announcement should come as a relief to Gustafsson, who had already signed on for the fight after news broke earlier this week that Jones wished to face Daniel Cormier, the man who recently called him out at UFC 173, instead.
To fans it looked like the 26-year-old champion was running away from a rematch with the only opponent to truly test him inside the cage. But according to Jones, it was never about not facing Gustafsson, he just wished to face the man he thought would give him the greater challenge.
“I think Cormier is the tougher fighter, but the fans want to see me fight Gustafsson,” said Jones. “There was never an issue with taking the Gustafsson fight.”
As for holding off on signing the contract to rematch Gustafsson, the champion said it was simply a matter of asking for a later date than the proposed Aug. 30 card.
“The issue was that my brother is getting married in July and I would have preferred a later date. I didn’t want to go this early and I would have preferred to go later in October or November,” said Jones. “It is what it is. We have a date now, September 27. This was a personal decision for me. I will be at my brother’s wedding and have a proper training camp.”
But as for Cormier, he’s just hoping Jones walks away with the belt so the two can finally settle their differences early next year.
Good luck @JonnyBones get er done! See u next year! DC
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) June 6, 2014
As of now the Sept.27 card is scheduled for Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, which just so happens to be the very same venue Jones and Gustafsson met last September. Here’s hoping lightning strikes twice.