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UFC champ Jon Jones open to Alexander Gustafsson rematch – but not in New York City

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Newly crowned UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is still weighing the options for his next fight, but he’s not shutting down the possibility of a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson.

Although a matchup between Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) and former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (5-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has been the talk of the town after “Bones” reclaimed the 205-pound belt with a third-round knockout of Daniel Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) at UFC 214 10 days ago, there are many hurdles to clear before such a fight can occur.

Between his two reigns as UFC champ, Jones already has wiped out most of the elite in his weight class. Gustafsson gave him his toughest fight to date when the pair had the 2013 “Fight of the Year” at UFC 165, though, and the chance to run it back is something both fighters have expressed the desire to do.

No final decisions have been made, Jones said, but he’s open to the rematch with Gustafsson next.

“Every fight gets my blood flowing,” Jones told MMAjunkie. “I know how important it is to never underestimate anyone. I get up for every one. I think the Gustafsson fight is an option for us right now. We’re just going to wait and see. We’re weighing our options right now.”

Jones, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA pound-for-pound rankings, defeated No. 5 light heavyweight Gustafsson by unanimous decision in a bloody affair at UFC 165. Jones was pushed to his limit in that contest, but came through on top despite an admittedly lackluster training camp and frequent partying in the lead-up to the fight.

The pair was scheduled to rematch at UFC 178 in September 2014, but Gustafsson suffered an injury and was replaced by Cormier, who went on to have a multi-fight feud with Jones. Nevertheless, Gustafsson is riding a two-fight winning streak against Glover Teixeira and Jan Blachowicz, and “The Mauler” wants to finally have his rematch with Jones (via Twitter):

Jones said his preference going forward is to stay active. He’s targeting a return before the end of the year, but the opponent, date and location are still up in the air, he said. The UFC has five more pay-per-view events remaining on the 2017 calendar, but the one Jones surprisingly is not interested in goes down in his home state of New York.

UFC 217 takes place Nov. 4 in New York City. Jones said he once had dreams and aspirations of fighting at Madison Square Garden, but over time those apparently have fizzled. He said fighting in New York doesn’t make sense from a financial perspective, so whether his next fight is against Gustafsson or someone else, don’t expect it to go down in “The Big Apple”

“To be honest, I love being from New York, but my whole thoughts and dreams of fighting in New York – they’re kind of starting to fade,” Jones said. “Looking at it from a business standpoint, it’s not a really good idea to pay 9 percent to the state of New York off the top just for fighting here. With 9 percent of every $1 million, that will add up real quick.

“I realize people from all over the world are going to watch it, whether it’s in Vegas or Canada or wherever. It would have been great to be the first person to fight at Madison Square Garden, but now that it’s happened and everything … I want to do it eventually, but it’s not something that’s a dream the way it used to be.”

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site. And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.



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