Imagine you’re the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion, and you had your choice between two fighters. Fighter A is an undefeated former Olympian, with a record of 15-0, that dominated at heavyweight and now has dropped to light heavyweight. Fighter B is a fighter who you have already beat in a close fight nine months ago. That biggest claim to fame is that he took you a full five rounds. Most people would probably say fighter B s the easier fight.
That’s the decision facing Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, and he wants to fight “fighter A” who is Daniel Cormier, instead of the #1 contender, Alexander Gustafsson. For some reason many mixed martial arts fans’ accuse Jones of ducking the fight with Gustafsson. Jones addressed the allegations in a now deleted Instagram message. “Asking for an undefeated, Olympic wrestler, Strikeforce champion somehow makes me a coward? How about the fact that I beat Gustafsson already, whether you guys like how close it was or not. It’s my career, not yours.”
Cormier came out after his last fight against Dan Henderson and expressed his desire to be a champion, “I want to be the champion. That’s why I started fighting. I’m 35 years old. I’m not a kid and I can’t wait too long” said Cormier. As of late even Cormier thinks that Gustafsson should be next in line. UFC president, Dana White agrees, and as he told Rick Wright of the Albuquerque Journal, there is no question who should get the next shot at Jones’ title. “Gustafsson’s next in line. Even Cormier said, ‘Listen, I hope this whole thing works out for me and I get the shot, but even I believe that Gustafsson deserves the next shot,’ He’s the number one contender, he’s waited for this rematch and (Cormier) even agrees.”
Jones is already in the discussion of the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. The impressive list of fighters he has faced and beat should make any discussion of him ducking a fight futile. White obviously feels different based on his comments. “As soon as that kid (Jones) 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.” No matter the opponent Jones will have a tough matchup in his next bout. Jones is a smart businessman as well as a fighter. I think it’s safe to say, the only ducking he is doing is from punches in the octagon.