After many reports, UFC president Dana White confirmed on Thursday that Jon Jones will be defending his Light Heavyweight title in September at UFC 165. Jones last appeared in the Octagon at UFC 159 where he picked up his record-tying fifth title defense with a first round TKO over Chael Sonnen. He'll look to get his sixth defense against Alexander Gustafsson.
MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani caught up with Jones to discuss his upcoming fight, his toe injury, and a few other topics.
On the gruesome big toe injury he suffered at UFC 159:
My toe is doing really well.
I chopped some of the bone on the right side of the left toe and tore ligaments on the left side of the toe. Now, I have to tape my big toe to the toe next to it, and as long as I can do that for about four more weeks, I'll be fine. I just can't put the toe in any quirky positions, like I would if I was doing jiu-jitsu, so that it doesn't go the opposite way again.
On fighting Gustafsson instead of Lyoto Machida:
Ultimately, it was Dana's decision to match me up with Gustafsson and not Machida, but I did mention to Dana that I had already defeated Lyoto, and the UFC 140 pay-per-view numbers were pretty terrible. If you have a perfectly healthy, young contender who is on a rampage, why not keep new opponents, new excitement for the fans?
I don't think he will be my toughest fight, but I need to have that psychology. I realize that he is a young man who is close to realizing a dream. You know, a lot of the guys I have fought have already had title shots before, but this is his very first title shot. I'm sure he's going to be extremely motivated.
Aw, meeting Fedor was awesome. He was so soft-spoken. We talked about training together. I let him know how big of a fan I was of him. I told him if there was ever anything I could do to support any causes of his, I would be honored. Basically, I was just being a groupie for 15 minutes. It was pretty cool. He was so respectful and showed a lot of respect back at me. It was a little bromance for a bit.
When asked, Jones did not say that he'd be heading to the Heavyweight division with a win over Alex, but that it would allow "for some funky, exciting things to happen." He also said he Sonnen's story about setting him up at UFC 151 was funny, but he doesn't believe it. Finally, he expects his former foe Rashad Evans to beat Dan Henderson this weekend at UFC 161.
Jones and Gustafsson are officially scheduled to face each other at UFC 165 on September 21. The event will take place in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. So far, the show has no other scheduled fights.