Top light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson had a lot to gain from Jon Jones’ recapturing of a UFC title. Now, any chance to avenge his 2013 loss to the champ may have slipped away.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Especially, it seems, in the light heavyweight division. Jon Jones is champion again – for the second time (or third depending on your view of ‘interim’ titles). And he’ll likely be stripped of the belt again – for the second time (or third depending on… you get the idea). And while a few faces have come and gone at 205 in between his title reigns, most of the top contenders are fairly familiar.
In fact, the man with the most claim to a chance at the belt is also the man who likely benefitted most from Jon Jones regaining the title. Alexander Gustafsson, the 6’ 5” Swede, is owner of one of Jones’ most thrilling and difficult title defenses: a 2013 fight that left many fans feeling that the ‘Mauler’ was the rightful owner of the belt. Since then, Gustafsson’s career has been a series of ups and downs, but coming off a big win over Glover Teixeira, he was ideally positioned to be next in line for a Jones title defense.
And then Tuesday, August 22nd happened, and USADA reported that Jon Jones had failed another drug test. So, where does that leave Gus? The Allstars Training Center talent released a statement to MMABetz.se (translation via Chamatkar Sandhu).
“We’ll wait and see what the B test says. Should it prove true, it’s a pity for the whole sport, sorry for DC who lost his belt against him, sorry for all his fans. It’s sad for me as well if it’s true. If there’s somebody I’ve been looking forward to fighting it’s him. Revenge in that fight is what I wanted. Am I surprised? No, nothing about that man surprises me anymore. But I do not want to judge him yet, not until we know everything. But if it’s true, then it would be best for him to end the sport.”
No word yet on what the results from the B-sample are. And while initial reports suggest that Jones tested positive for Turinabol, no official cause for the drug test failure has been named. Whatever the eventual result, this process seems likely to leave yet another lasting stain on Jones’ reputation. And if things go as poorly as they very well might, it could mark the end of Jon Jones’ MMA career in the UFC.