Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
One of the biggest topics in MMA is "Who is next for Jon Jones?". Dana White was asked this question earlier this past weekend and it could be the winner of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on FOX 5 on December 8th.
The UFC light heavyweight division is a bit of a mess due to a combination of UFC 151 falling through and the pure domination of Jon Jones. There's obviously a bit of a following to get Glover Teixeira "in the mix" after his impressive showings against Kyle Kingsbury and Fabio Maldonado, but they're both knocking on the doorstep of a UFC release. Dan Henderson is supposedly fighting Lyoto Machida but that's not confirmed yet. There is a big co-main event scheduled for FOX in December, as Mauricio Rua fights Alexander Gustafsson in Seattle. UFC president Dana White was asked by MMA Junkie about the importance of the fight, and he had this to say:
"It'll put one of those guys in the position (for a title shot)," White said of the co-main event.
Shogun of course fought Jon Jones at UFC 128 back when he was the champion, but was battered and bruised up until the 3rd round TKO. He's since gone 2-1 with wins over Forrest Griffin and Brandon Vera but a loss to Dan Henderson in one of the most incredible fights in UFC history. The Vera win was rather sluggish and Vera tagged Shogun often, which has raised some doubts over his ability to still compete against the best in the world. Even if he beat Gustafsson, it would be incredibly difficult to justify a Jones rematch being remotely competitive.
Gustafsson has had a near spotless record in the UFC, with his only defeat coming against Phil Davis when they were both making just their 2nd appearances with the promotion. Wins over Vladimir Matyushenko and Thiago Silva have put him close to title contention, and his upcoming fight with Shogun is the biggest test and highest profile name he's ever faced.
Dana White is a bit trigger-happy with the "title shot" quote, as you remember from the last FOX card where "the most impressive winner" would get a shot at Jon Jones. The big winner was Lyoto Machida, but he's been stripped of that right after turning down a short-notice fight with Jones at UFC 152.
This FOX card is maybe one of the best free MMA cards ever, and ticket sales according to Dana White suggest they've been fantastic:
"UFC on FOX 5 almost sold out before I left (the U.S.)," White said after UFC 153. "It's probably sold out now."
I cannot wait for this card, hopefully it's injury-free *crosses fingers* ... and did I mention it was on FOX?