If you haven’t heard, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones is back, and welcoming him back will be his old Swedish rival, ‘The Mauler’ Alexander Gustafsson.
The two iconic light heavyweight staples will meet for the second time on December 29 in the main event of UFC 232 as they fight over the vacant title.
This past Friday Gustafsson and Jones found themselves squaring off for the first time since their initial encounter in 2013 when they met at a pre-fight press conference.
Not so surprisingly, things got a bit physical between the two as Jones ended up shoving Gustafsson after the two jockeyed for position posing in front of the other.
Gustafsson isn’t sure why Jones put his hands on him, but he told the MMA Hour that it left him unimpressed with his rival.
“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.”
Although Jones is the one that most are viewing as the returning party, Gustafsson actually has gone a longer time without fighting. Jones’ last bout came in July 2017 while Gustafsson’s was in May 2017 when he earned a spectacular fifth-round knockout over Glover Teixeira.
Therefore getting his first fight back in a good while against someone like Jones couldn’t be any more of a perfect situation for The Mauler.
“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.”
In the end, Gustafsson just hopes to go home with the win to close out the year and leave no possible excuses for his adversary.
“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.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/5/2018