It’s been five years since Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson met face to face in front of the MMA public. Save for the expected banter, the two men somewhat showed a little teaser for their rematch at UFC 232, engaging in a brief shoving match at the event presser at UFC 230 late last week.
As seen on the video, Jones shoved Gustafsson after their faceoff, throwing the Swede off balance and about two feet away. According to Jones, he was just trying to make things a little more interesting.
“For the most part, he’s not really big on entertainment,” Jones told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani in an exclusive interview. “And I don’t want this to be a dry card. I want people to be excited about it, so I thought I’d mix it up with him a little bit.”
Gustafsson, however, simply scoffed at Jones’ efforts.
“I don’t know [why he shoved me]. He just did that, and the only thing I noticed was that I wasn’t impressed by his power at all,” Gustafsson said Monday on The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “We had some fun up there, and the 29th of December, we’re going to give all the fans a really good show, even better than the first one, I can promise you that.
“I’m excited and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never been this motivated before.”
Gustafsson became the first fighter to deal significant damage on Jones, but ended up on the losing end, nonetheless. “The Mauler” says he knows what went wrong that night at UFC 165, and plans to not make the same mistake this time around.
“I think I just respected him too much the first time,” he said. “I didn’t have the same experience like I have now, and these are different times. It’s a new time, and it’s my time. That’s how I see it. I see myself [having evolved], and I’m going to stay busy, we’re going to do this rematch, and everything’s just going to go like I want it to be.
“Like I said, it’s my time, and no matter what happens, I’m not leaving that Octagon without the belt. I’m going to show the world, the guy who’s never been beaten is beatable.”
UFC 232 takes place on December 29th in Las Vegas. It will be headlined by a women’s featherweight title fight between Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes.