Fans have been clamoring for the rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson ever since their epic championship bout at UFC 165 in September of 2013. Some consider that bout to be the greatest fight in company history.
After news broke the night of UFC 173 that Gustafsson agreed to terms on a rematch with Jones, everybody has been waiting on the champion to sign on for the historic rematch.
So what's the hold up?
According to UFC president Dana White, Jones doesn't want to fight Gustafsson. In fact, the champion has said that he would rather face Daniel Cormier, who is coming off a dominant victory over legend Dan Henderson.
"Just to clear up a couple things, people think we're in contract negotiations with Jon Jones - we're not. Jon Jones still has five fights left on his contract," White said Monday afternoon in an exclusive interview with UFC.com. "So what we're doing right now is trying to get him to sign the bout agreement for Gustafsson. He doesn't want to fight Gustafsson. ... Lorenzo and I have a meeting with Jones on Thursday to get him to sign the bout agreement, and he's asking to fight Cormier instead."
Cormier recently spoke to sportsworldnews.com and said he'd be willing to fight Gustafsson if Jones won't sign to fight the Swede. White said if Jones doesn't sign the contract, who knows, Cormier vs.
Gustafsson could be the move.
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White on Anderson Silva...
Silva's manager Ed Soares went on the MMA Hour Monday and spoke about "The Spider" and his recovery from a broken left leg back at UFC 168. He mentioned several potential fights for when Silva is ready to return, possibly in late 2014, but more likely in 2015.
"There's Michael Bisping, there's Cung Le. Even Nick Diaz," Soares told Ariel Helwani. "Nick Diaz has said he's wanted to fight him before. Nick Diaz wanted to box Roy Jones Jr. You could argue that Nick Diaz and Anderson probably have some of the best boxing in MMA, so we'll see what happens."
White said that any one of those fights could happen, leaving the door open to any number of potential match ups for the former UFC middleweight champ when he returns.
"I think that the landscape changes so much in MMA that by the time Anderson comes back, we'll see who's where and who's doing what. Any of those fights can happen. ... Nick Diaz has made it very clear that he would love to fight Anderson Silva," White said.
On Gegard Mousasi and UFC Super Saturday...
Many wondered how the UFC was going to pull off a doubleheader this past Saturday, holding events in Berlin and Brazil only hours apart. It was certainly a jam-packed day of fights, and for the most part fans and media members seemed to enjoy the day.
White said it was a very successful day for the UFC.
"It was a super successful weekend. Obviously we don't have the ratings back for Fox yet, but we did a great gate in Germany, we did a great gate in Brazil, and it had a big impact on UFC Fight Pass. The team out there did a great job of promoting Fight Pass in Germany, so we picked up a ton of new subscribers in Germany. It was a very successful weekend," White said.
"It was the first time ever we did a doubleheader of fights," White continued. "You're going to have people who think it's too much and don't want to watch, and you're going to have people that can't get enough. I can tell you this though, the finale in Brazil did 15 million viewers in Brazil."
Gegard Mousasi was absolutely sensational in his main event showdown with Mark Munoz. White said last week that he was a big fan of the Dutch former Strickforce champion, and Mousasi made the president look good Saturday night.
Mousasi now sits at No. 7 in the latest official UFC rankings, and White said that's where he should have been all along.
"Honestly, going into this fight, I believe Mousasi should have been ranked number six," White said. "He's where I think he should be, close at least. I think Mousasi is ready to face anybody. He fought the number one guy in the world, went the distance with him after being out for over a year with ACL surgery, and went the distance. The guy is ranked in the top six for sure."
White on Fight Night Albuquerque...
This Saturday live on Fox Sports 1, the UFC comes right back with another free and exciting card. Former lightweight champ Benson Henderson faces up and comer Rustam Khabilov, Diego Sanchez battles Ross Pearson, and the always exciting John Dodson takes on John Moraga.
White said a lot is on the line for a number of fighters Saturday night, but specifically thinks Dodson-Moraga is going to steal the show.
"Obviously Diego and Ross Pearson is a great fight. Both have a ton to gain by winning," White said. "Then you got Moraga, who is a tough mother f*****. That is a great fight - I love that Dodson-Moraga fight. Dodson is bad ass. I think Dodson is the fastest guy, possibly in the world. He's very talented and very flashy, and Moraga is an old school, tough Mexican fighter that just keeps moving forward and throwing heavy punches. That's going to be a fun fight. They both want to get a win to get back in title contention to face Mighty Mouse (Demetrious Johnson) again."
White on Stipe Miocic...
Miocic made quick work of Fabio Maldonado Saturday night in the main event of the Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale. With Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum set to meet later this year, White said Miocic still needs a big win over a top guy to get into the title picture.
"I think Stipe needs that Junior Dos Santos fight. That's the fight he should have had last weekend, it's the fight he wants and that's the fight that will put him in contention," White said.