The promos heading into UFC 165 advertised that the event would make fans’ heads explode. Following Jon Jones’ narrow victory over Alexander Gustafsson, it’s understandable if you’re still suffering from the aftereffects of your head in fact exploding.

Gustafsson had by far his best performance and took Jones to his absolute limit. The UFC light heavyweight champion finally found a fighter that was a match for him in terms of not only length, but skills as well. Gustafsson landed numerous shots on the champion, leaving Jones’ face barely recognizable after the fight was over. Jones responded much in the way any fight fan would want a champion to respond: he fought through the adversity.

MMA fans got an early start on Sunday morning, lighting up the message boards with complaints about a robbery. Whether you gave Gustafsson the victory or not, the fact remains that Jones is still wearing UFC gold. Although the UFC champ had discussed moving up to heavyweight or fighting one of the Klitschko brothers, it’s very likely now, after UFC 165, that we will see Jones at 205 pounds for the conceivable future.

The only question of what’s next for Jones is whether it will be a rematch with the Swede, Gustafsson, or a showdown with the Brazilian, Glover Teixeira.

The immediate knee-jerk reaction from most fans would likely be for Jones to face Gustafsson again. The two had one of the best fights in UFC light heavyweight history, and it was Jones’ first competitive fight since winning the title. We already knew Gustafsson was a match for Jones in terms of physical gifts, but at UFC 165, Gustafsson proved he can be good enough to dethrone the once invincible champion. Also, Teixeira only has one, maybe two (depending on your view) quality wins on his UFC resume. A win over Ryan Bader, especially given the fact Bader nearly finished Teixeira, shouldn’t garner a title shot for a fighter. Teixeira’s other high-profile victory came against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson earlier this year, but that was at a point when Jackson wanted nothing to do with the UFC and clearly had lost the competitive drive.

Teixeira should have to face another top guy, like Phil Davis, in order to get the title shot that was once promised to him by UFC President Dana White. It makes a lot of sense given that although Davis defeated Lyoto Machida at UFC 163, there are plenty of fans who feel otherwise. Both men have entered the top five in the division due to a lack of depth in the weight class that can be at least partially attributed to Jones’ domination at the top. However, they haven’t defeated a top guy in a way that makes fans say, “Yup, he’s the guy to beat the champion.” A victory by Davis or Teixeira over the other would make their claim for a title shot all that much more legitimate.

Let’s hope the UFC realizes not only the amount of fans that want a Gustafsson-Jones immediate rematch, but also the money that can be made from that fight. Coming into UFC 165, Gustafsson was nothing more than an afterthought. Even the UFC seemed to think so given that its only marketing tool coming into UFC 165 was the fact that Gustafsson was really tall. Now, the promotion can advertise that Gustafsson should’ve been awarded the decision victory, and that he made Jones seem human for once in the phenom’s career.

It’s not very often that we see two fighters find their equal at the same point in their careers, but that’s exactly where Jones and Gustafsson find each other. They’re the 205-pound version of Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. Just as the UFC realized the profitability from that rivalry, it should be pretty clear to see that everyone wins with Gustafsson-Jones II.

Photo: Jon Jones (L) raises his arms (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.