It was reported earlier that UFC President Dana White is pursuing a Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson matchup for UFC 232. The matchup would presumably be for the interim light heavyweight title, but another layer to the matchmaking process has now been revealed.
Before working on this Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson rematch, the UFC wanted to book a heavyweight title fight between Jones and reigning champion Daniel Cormier. This per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
UFC is now targeting Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 on 12/29, per a report from @bokamotoESPN. Wondering how we got there in the last 24 hours and how it relates to UFC 230 in MSG?Here’s the timeline of events: pic.twitter.com/lvPfrE6u4Y
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 27, 2018
“UFC needs a main event for 230 on 11/3,” Helwani explained on Twitter. “They offered a light heavyweight fight to Yoel Romero and Alexander Gustafsson. In order to make the fight happen, the UFC wanted to strip Daniel Cormier of the 205 belt and then they wanted Jon Jones and Cormier to fight for the heavyweight title on 12/29. The thinking was we can’t do, say, an interim title fight on 11/3 and then have the real belt defended on 12/29 so this was a clean solution, in their eyes. However, if they were to fight each other, both Jones and Cormier told the UFC they wanted to fight each other at light heavyweight, not heavyweight. This was a major roadblock. Also, that date doesn’t work for Cormier. Once they couldn’t get Jones-DC to agree on heavyweight and the date, they scrapped plans for the Romero-Gustafsson title fight at MSG and decided to go with Jones-Gustafsson on 12/29, which, as of now is expected to be for a belt. MSG remains TBD.”
As Helwani suggests, there is a lot taking place surrounding the MSG card and the light heavyweight division at present. However it all shakes out, it doesn’t seem like Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones will be rematching any time soon.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/27/2018.