In an interview with ESPN.com, UFC President Dana White told them that Jon Jones wouldn’t be facing Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch for the UFC Light Heavyweight title, but rather he’d be facing Glover Teixeira in New Jersey on Super Bowl weekend Feb 1st. Already this morning, fans and MMA personalities took to twitter to express their concern in the decision.
This tweet below is from Front Row Brian, an aggressive yet intelligent individual who described himself in an interview once as an MMA Super Fan:
In MMA, best laid plans often go awry. You strike while the iron is hot.What if Jones or AG lose their next fight? Huge rematch up in flames
— FrontRowBrian (@FrontRowBrian) September 26, 2013
Not one word of that could you disagree with from a fan nor business stand point. Jones vs. Gustafsson at UFC 165 was hands down the fight of the century. With all the opponents that Jones has walked through, MMA fans across the world waited in suspense to see how the 6’5 Gustafsson would be able to handle Jones. We all knew how the fight went, so no need to go into details.
After UFC 165, the buzz of the Jones vs. Gustafsson had fans ordering the event from PPV post event (which doesn’t happen nearly as often). So, why, might you ask, doesn’t a Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 make sense to be next? Why is Glover Teixeira the wrong call? Allow me to elaborate.
Right now, as Front Row Brian provided in metaphor, the Jones vs. Gustafsson topic is on fire. Fans are split in who they feel won the fight. Whether they’re biased or unbiased, the reasoning is inconclusive. MMA has a high turn over rate due to the small window that is provided for athletes (age, injury, personal/financial issues, etc). Having said that, each organization has to take advantage of every hand that is dealt to them before it sets sail down the stream.
Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 has many entities to it for all those involved. Jones, Gustafsson, UFC, fans, everyone would benefit from this. The build up for a rematch had immediately started as soon as the winner of the first match up exited the voice of the long time octagon announcer Bruce Buffer. So, why Jones vs. Teixeira next if you’re company is about making money?
Let’s forget the fact that Teixeira hasn’t beaten anyone of higher quality than Ryan Bader, who has inevitably been exiled from the Top 10 in UFC’s LHW rankings. Throw that out for a moment. However, allow me to provide one solid example as to why Jones vs. Gustafsson makes more sense than any rematch you can muster.
I have no choice but to bring up Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen bouts from UFC 117 and UFC 148. In their first match up, no one expected Sonnen to dominate the long time Middleweight Champion through out the entire fight before getting caught in a submission late in round 5 as time was set to expire. The bout, for Silva, was considered to be the comeback of the century.
Fans and analysts debated about the fight all the way up to the remach at UFC 148. UFC 117 ended up totaling out at 600,000 PPV buys. Now, an immediate rematch could’ve been warranted at that time, but Sonnen tested postive for elevated levels of testosterone.
Fortunately, Silva continued his win streak and Sonnen was able to get back on track to link up with Silva for a rematch. Based off the heat of the first match up, the build up was tremendous. Tremendous enough that the Silva vs. Sonnen 2 match up amassed 400,000 extra PPV buys from the first and topped 1,000,000 PPV buys.
If you’re the UFC you have to say to yourself, 1,000,000 PPV buys are hard to come by these days in light of the Fox deal. UFC 158 with Welterweight Champion George St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz is the only PPV card this year that has seen 1 million buys.
This is a business and businesses are about profit and making money. Who can legitimately justify Jones vs. Teixeira on a level of financial gain when you put it on the scale with a Jones vs Gustafsson rematch? I can’t think of anyone. To even speak of it is an abomination. Truth is, we need to see Teixeira matched up against a higher level of competition before we throw him in with Jones. Though he’s defeated Bader, Jones also easily defeated Bader as well.
In hind sight, much like TJ Grant came up injured for the Ben Henderson fight that was supposed to take place at UFC 164 last August, will we see a change of plans? Will Teixeira end up injured? Will we end up seeing the rematch we all believe should be taking place? It’s only been 5 days since Gustafsson nearly walked away with the UFC Light Heavyweight crown, so let’s give it a couple of weeks and see what unfolds.
I can testify, I want to see this rematch, I know Gustafsson is on fire for the rematch, many analysts want to see this rematch, and most importantly, the FANS want to see this rematch. UFC needs to capitolize on the momentum of this golden opportunity while it’s still in front of us.