Jones' face was a mess. His mouth was swollen, and a large piece of gauze hung over his right eye, seemingly held there by the flow of blood the patch was attempting to staunch. Gustafsson may have left the Air Canada Center that night without the UFC light heavyweight title, but he handed Jones a beating he won't soon forget.
Jones, speaking to Ariel Helwani said his wounds have all healed from that fight, but they did not heal as well as the champion would have liked. The cut that Gustafsson opened over Jones' eye during the first round of their fight is now a scar, and that permanent reminder of the fight has the champ, "a little upset."
The main event of UFC 165 saw Gustafsson earn the first UFC takedown against Jones. It also saw the challenger rack up 110 significant strikes against the young champion. Prior to UFC 165, the most significant strikes Jones had absorbed in a fight were the 45 that Rashad Evans put on him at UFC 145. In fact, before the Gustafsson fight, Jones' 13 previous opponents had landed only 202 significant strikes, an average of 15.5 per fight.
When asked if he was 100 percent going into the fight, his sixth light heavyweight title defense, Jones offered the following:
I felt my camp was off. I'm not going to make any excuses, Gustafsson showed up, and he did his part, and he fought at a very high level, but you've seen me compete better than that. Even my fiancée said, ‘When you were walking out to the cage, you just seemed off.' If you're used to watching my performances, there's just things that I wasn't doing. I'm better than that; I know I'm better than that.
Jones made it clear that his comments were not meant to take anything away from the performance of the 26-year old Gustafsson:
Gustafsson met me out there, young, hungry and ambitious. He reminded me of the kid that I was against (Mauricio) Shogun (Rua), just really wanting something so bad, and I was able to conquer that.
As for those that said the fight marked the beginning of the end of Jones' run as a dominant champion, Jones doesn't see it that way:
A lot of people we're beating me up about not being dominant against this one guy, but I'm not going to beat myself up. I'm fighting against the top guys in the world and not every performance is not going to look beautiful.
Jones' next opportunity to deliver a beautiful performance in the Octagon will come against No. 2 ranked contender Glover Teixeira. That fight does not have a date or location at this time, but speculation is that it will take place sometime in February or March of 2014.
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