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Alexander Gustafsson: You can only consider yourself a real champ if you beat Jon Jones

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Alexander Gustafsson might be getting the next shot at light heavyweight gold, but he still believes you're not the best unless you defeat disgraced former champion Jon Jones.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Gustafsson is in the unenviable position of getting a title shot coming off of a loss. While it's not as rare as it might sound in the UFC, a lot of people still believe that it doesn't make a lot of sense. One of those is current champion Daniel Cormier, who thinks Ryan Bader should have been next. Regardless, it will be the man who nearly defeated Jon Jones in 2013, and he told Fightland that he's very happy about the shot, though even he was surprised:

"I haven't looked into what Daniel has been saying, but I'm very glad that I've been given this opportunity. I'm lucky that I get another chance. To be honest, I was surprised myself when they first told me that I would be fighting for the title. It's sunk in now and it's great. I'm going to make the best of it. I know I'm going to be motivated when it comes time to fight ‘DC'."

After complimenting Cormier on his wrestling, striking, and the caliber of athlete that he is, he talked a bit about how difficult his loss to Anthony Johnson was on him:

"The Johnson loss was very hard, it was a tough blow for my career. I was down for a while, I didn't show up for training but now I feel like I'm on top of my game. I've got my passion and my motivation back, and I've got this huge title fight coming up so that helps as well."

He also stated that he's already in training, and is "13 weeks out" of the fight, which would place it on the UFC 191 card in early September. That hasn't been confirmed by the promotion as of yet.

The topic then turned to Jones, who was stripped of the title after a hit-and-run accident in New Mexico earlier in the year. And he believes that until someone beats Jones, you're not the real champ:

"The fight that everybody wants to see is a rematch with me and Jones. Let's see what happens but I'm ready for that, it's the fight that has been motivating me. I think it's a fight that is going to happen one day, for sure.

...

"Whoever is holding the belt is the official champion, but everybody knows that the best guy out there is Jon Jones. He's the pound for pound best guy in the world and you can probably only consider yourself a real world champion if you beat him."