The UFC is finally running back arguably the greatest light heavyweight title fight in the promotion’s history.
Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson are set to fight for the UFC light heavyweight title in the UFC 232 main event at the end of the year, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported Wednesday afternoon.
In similar fashion to when Conor McGregor and Colby Covington lost the lightweight and interim welterweight belts, respectively, earlier this year, current titleholder Daniel Cormier will lose the title as soon as Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 begins, per the report. Cormier, a two-division champ, is scheduled to defend his heavyweight title against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 next month.
Jones returns to the cage against Gustafsson following a second ordeal with USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner. After knocking out Cormier in a highly-anticipated rematch last year to recapture the 205-pound belt, Jones failed a drug test and lost the title. After a lengthy process, USADA finally suspended Jones 15 months in September (retroactive to the July 2017 positive drug test). Jones is eligible to return Oct. 28.
Before the Cormier rematch, Jones defeated Ovince Saint Preux by decision for the interim title in April 2016. He was scheduled to face “DC” on the same card, but the champ suffered an injury, so Jones fought Saint Preux instead. Jones was stripped of the interim title after failing a different drug test ahead of UFC 200 in July 2016.
Gustafsson hasn’t been very active either. In his last fight, he defeated Glover Teixeira via fifth-round knockout in May 2017. The Swedish contender is riding a two-fight winning streak.
Jones and Gustafsson first fought at UFC 165 in September 2013 in Toronto. Jones defended his title against Gustafsson, a big underdog with low expectations. “The Mauler” gave Jones the toughest test of his career through five back-and-forth rounds. Jones won by a narrow decision. The fight was 2013’s “Fight of the Year.”
Jones and Gustafsson were previously scheduled to rematch at UFC 178 in September 2014, but Gustafsson fell off the card due to an injury.
UFC 232 takes place Dec. 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The card also features a superfight between women’s featherweight champ Cris Cyborg and women’s bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes.