TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Jon 'Bones' Jones and Alexander Gustafsson touch gloves prior to their UFC light heavyweight championship bout at the Air Canada Center on September 21, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Alexander Gustafsson Calls Out Jon Jones For Rematch As He Prepares for Return

Five years removed from their epic first fight, Alexander Gustafsson wants to welcome Jon Jones back to the Octagon when he's cleared to return at the end of October.

It’s been five years since Alexander Gustafsson pushed Jon Jones to the brink of defeat and now he’s ready to do it all over again.

On Wednesday, Jones was handed a 15-month suspension from USADA after failing a drug test last July but because of the long adjudication process, he will be cleared to return to action after Oct. 28.

With light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier still nursing a broken hand while preparing for a showdown against WWE superstar Brock Lesnar in early 2019, Gustafsson is ready to welcome Jones back to the Octagon when he’s ready to fight again.

“Congratulations Jon Jones, I’m really glad you are back,” Gustafsson wrote on Instagram. “Daniel Cormier is aiming for Brock so let’s give the fans another legendary fight for the belt.”

Now Cormier has said he’s holding onto the light heavyweight title with hopes of defending it before he retires in March 2019, Gustafsson has been asking for a chance to compete for the belt rather than letting the championship stay stagnant for several months.

Perhaps the UFC would consider an interim title if they put together the fight between Gustafsson and Jones, but it’s tough to imagine that matchup happening without a championship on the line.

That said, Gustafsson’s manager Nima Safapour doesn’t see any other option than putting together a rematch that’s now five years in the making.

“The fans have waited years to see the rematch from the greatest fight in UFC history,” Safapour said in an exclusive statement when addressing Gustafsson facing Jones for a second time. “It’s time to give the fans what they have asked for.

“Jones and Alex are willing and able. It’s time to see who really is the greatest.”

As of now, Jones isn’t expected to return until early 2019 as he prepares for a fight camp following the end of his suspension. Meanwhile, Gustafsson was dealing with a hamstring injury that kept him from fighting at UFC 227 so it’s entirely possible the timing of this fight works out perfectly for both competitors.

Obviously, Gustafsson is more than willing to welcome Jones back to the Octagon and now he’s just waiting on word from the UFC on making it finally happen.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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