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UFC 232 fight card primer: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson II

It’s the return of the GOAT (maybe) as Jon Jones rematches Alexander Gustafsson in... California? Get the details here in our UFC 232 primer.

UFC 214: Weigh-ins Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Saturday night, UFC 232 features a rematch fans have been waiting for as Jon Jones (22-1(1) MMA; 16-1(1) UFC) returns to once again face Alexander Gustafsson (18-4 MMA; 10-4 UFC). The winner will become the UFC Light Heavyweight champion, with former champ Daniel Cormier relinquishing the belt the day before. The UFC rankings have Jones as the division’s #1 contender and #3 pound for pound with Gustafsson #2 in the division. UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustafsson II airs live from The Forum in Inglewood, CA this Saturday night, December 29. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1 and 6:15 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

Jones and Gustafsson first met back at UFC 165 in 2013. It was the 6th title defense for Jones, and he appeared completely unbeatable at the time. Gustafsson gave him the toughest test of his career, losing a close and, to some, controversial decision. There has been talk of a rematch off and on ever since, and it’s finally happening here. Adding an extra wrinkle - this was to take place in Las Vegas, but when a Jones drug test revelaed a trace amount of turinabol, the Nevada commission refused to sanction him. Rather than scrap the fight, the UFC packed up shop and moved the entire card to California on a week’s notice.

How do these two stack up?

Jones: 31 years old | 6’4” | 84.5” reach
Gustafsson: 31 years old | 6’5” | 79” reach

What have these two done recently?

Jones: NC - Daniel Cormier | W - Ovince St. Preux (UD) | W - Daniel Cormier (UD)
Gustafsson: W - Glover Teixeira (KO) | W - Jan Blachowicz (UD) | L - Daniel Cormier (SD)

How did these two get here?

If you could just isolate what Jon Jones has done inside the cage, it would be hard to argue he is not MMA’s GOAT. Essentially undefeated (his lone loss is an odd DQ), he’s been the king of the Light Heavyweight division for 7 years, defeating everyone from Gustafsson to Cormier to Shogun to so many more. But that’s when he’s been around. Because for all those wins, there are an equal number of outside the ring bungles, including most notably multiple drug test failures and a hit and run issue. He hasn’t been a full-time fighter since early 2015 - in the nearly 4 years since then, he has just two fights, and one is officially a No Contest thanks to a failed drug test for that same turinabol just found in his system again.

Sweden’s Gustafsson has been a top contender in the Light Heavyweight division for years now, never dropping anything lower than #4 for quite some time. He was 15-1 heading into the first Jones fight, and since that loss, he’s gone 3-2. Like Jones, he has not been super active - since 2011 he’s never fought more than twice in a year, and his last fight was back in May 2017 when he stopped Glover Teixeira. He’s 0-2 in UFC title fights so far, and this is his shot to prove he’s not just a #2 fighter. Much like DC, The Mauler really, really hates Jon Jones, and will no doubt come in here with something personal to prove.

Why should you care?

Because despite all of Jones’s nonsense, he remains the most dynamic fighter in MMA. Period. He’s must-watch. Unless you want to boycott for personal reasons, which, hey, more power to you.