As we all know by now, the stage has been officially set for former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ UFC return which will happen on December 29 at UFC 232 when he faces one of his old rival Alexander Gustafsson, for the now vacant UFC light heavyweight championship.
This past Friday, Gustafsson and Jones met each other eye to eye at the UFC 232 pre-fight press conference for the first time since their epic first battle back in 2013 .
To the shock of nobody, things got very heated and physical in the traditional stare down, as Jones ended up shoving Gustafsson after the two men started bowing up on each other while posing.
Gustafsson claims he is not sure why Jones shoved him to begin with, but he did explain to the MMA Hour that it definitely left him unimpressed with Jones.
“I DON’T KNOW [WHY HE SHOVED ME]. HE JUST DID THAT, AND THE ONLY THING I NOTICED WAS THAT I WASN’T IMPRESSED BY HIS POWER AT ALL. WE HAD SOME FUN UP THERE, AND THE 29TH OF DECEMBER, WE’RE GOING TO GIVE ALL THE FANS A REALLY GOOD SHOW, EVEN BETTER THAN THE FIRST ONE, I CAN PROMISE YOU THAT. I’M EXCITED AND I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IT. I’VE NEVER BEEN THIS MOTIVATED BEFORE.”
Though Jones is the man most believe is the one making the major return, Gustafsson is actually the one that’s had the longer absence from MMA as he last fought in May of 2017, as opposed to Jones, who last fought in July of 2017.
That being said, Gustafsson’s first fight returning to the UFC against somebody the likes of Jon Jones, could not be anymore more of the perfect scenario for the Swedish striker.
“I’M SO HAPPY TO HAVE MY RETURN AND GET MY FIRST FIGHT [BACK] WITH JON FOR THE BELT. I CAN’T ASK FOR MORE, AND IT’S FOR SURE THE BIGGEST [FIGHT FOR ME] EVER.
IT’S BEEN FIVE YEARS [SINCE THE FIRST FIGHT], SO LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENS. I’M JUST GOING TO MAKE SURE I’LL BE IN MY BEST SHAPE EVER, AND I’M GOING TO MAKE SURE I’M GOING TO DO MY HOMEWORK FOR THIS FIGHT. EVERYBODY KNOWS WHAT JON BRINGS TO THE TABLE, AND WHATEVER HE BRINGS, I’M GOING TO HAVE AN ANSWER FOR IT.
I THINK I JUST RESPECTED HIM TOO MUCH THE FIRST TIME. I DIDN’T HAVE THE SAME EXPERIENCE LIKE I HAVE NOW, AND THESE ARE DIFFERENT TIMES. IT’S A NEW TIME, AND IT’S MY TIME. THAT’S HOW I SEE IT. I SEE MYSELF [HAVING EVOLVED], AND I’M GOING TO STAY BUSY, WE’RE GOING TO DO THIS REMATCH, AND EVERYTHING’S JUST GOING TO GO LIKE I WANT IT TO BE. LIKE I SAID, IT’S MY TIME, AND NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, I’M NOT LEAVING THAT OCTAGON WITHOUT THE BELT. I’M GOING TO SHOW THE WORLD, THE GUY WHO’S NEVER BEEN BEATEN IS BEATABLE.”
When it’s all said and done, Gustafsson just hopes to be the one to go back home with a convincing victory, and the UFC light heavyweight championship around his waste leaving no excuses for his rival Jon Jones.
“WHATEVER JON COMES WITH — HE SAYS HE DIDN’T TRAIN FOR THE FIRST FIGHT, WHATEVER, I DON’T CARE — I REALLY HOPE HE BRINGS HIS A-GAME. I REALLY HOPE HE BRINGS HIS BEST TO THE TABLE BECAUSE I’M GETTING READY FOR THE BEST. I’M GETTING READY FOR JON’S A-GAME. I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANY EXCUSES AFTER I BEAT HIM.”