Jon Jones called his fight with Alexander Gustafsson last month a blessing. That epic five-round battle at UFC 165 in Toronto is also the reason his next title defense against Glover Teixeira will not be happening in Newark on Super Bowl Weekend, as was reported earlier this month.
“It was just a little too close,” Jones told Newsday on Saturday from the UFC Gym’s grand opening in New Hyde Park. “I felt like I was rushing a bit, and I talked to my team and everyone suggested I hold off for another month and a half.”
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UFC president Dana White told reporters on a conference call last Monday that Jones would defend his light heavyweight title against Teixeira at a later date, most likely in March. The matchup between Jones and Teixeira is set, but no date or location has been made official.
Jones and Gustafsson put on one of the most exciting fights in MMA history, with no qualifier needed such as “best title fight” or “best five-round fight” or anything of the sort. It was simply this: a great fight.
And it happened on Sept. 21, 2013, leaving Jones four months and a week or so before Super Bowl Weekend. That would mean about a month or so to recover from the Gustafsson fight, both physically and mentally, before beginning training camp to prepare for a guy on a 20-fight win streak.
Jones, who drove from his home in Ithaca to be at the event on Saturday, said that he believes pushing the Teixeira fight back an extra month and a half or so should be enough time for him to be ready.
“I hope so, I hope so,” said Jones, 26. “That last fight was a lot. So, I think the time is appropriate. I’m a young guy, and I don’t think it’s really necessary to rush anything.”
No one ever pushed Jones to the brink the way Gustafsson did that night. Not even close. Heck, Jones (19-1, 13-1 UFC) had never even been taken down before in a UFC fight, let alone left the crowd on the edge of their seats as the decision was to be announced.
“I was more sore than ever before,” Jones said.
After the victory, Jones needed assistance from his cornermen leaving the cage because of an injured foot. He tweeted later that week that his foot was neither broken nor fractured.
“My foot is not 100 percent, but my face and my body feels great,” Jones said. “I felt like it was the biggest win of my career because of hard fought it was. I felt like it was a huge blessing. I’ve always asked for a dogfight. I’ve always looked for a legitimate fight and I got it and it feels good to have that under my belt now. Hopefully in the future I can get back to more dominating ways.”
White has said that he expects Gustafsson to fight again around the same time as Jones, likely in Sweden or elsewhere in Europe. Should Jones and Gustafsson both win, White said they would definitely fight each other again.