Is the UFC protecting Gustafsson & other top contenders? Jon Jones thinks so

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Commentary/Opinion, Latest news

jonestieJon Jones just said what we were all thinking.

We’ve been talking about the light heavyweight division around here for quite a while now. For quite a while now, the division’s “top” fighters have looked like a list of former champions, years removed from their primes. With that being said, a fresh new contender has become quite a commodity. And, according to Jones, the UFC intends to protect that commodity by letting them skate by as easily as possible.

The champ recently spoke to MMA Fighting about this topic and he didn’t mince words. He thinks the new contenders are getting a cakewalk to the title.

“I wanna see [Gustafsson] fight a top contender. Seems like these guys are not really having the toughest time to get to the belt. Teixeira goes from Bader to a championship fight. Gustafsson went from Shogun to a championship fight. I feel like they save all the dogs for me and they just give the toughest guys the easiest match-ups to get to a title shot. Let’s see some of these top contenders fight each other.”

It’s hard to deny what he’s saying here. He had a similar reaction when he found out Gustafsson was supposed to fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

“I was like ‘Really? You want him to have the rematch that bad?’ No disrespect to Nogueira, but let’s see Gustafsson vs. Cormier. It makes so much sense. Me, Cormier, Gustafsson and Teixeira, the top four guys in the division. Let’s put us all in a little round-robin pool and see who is the toughest out of us four. Why throw Little Nog into the picture? But whatever, I’m gonna fight the toughest one anyway.”

I think everyone outside of maybe Little Nog himself would agree with this statement. It’s fairly obvious that the UFC knows the LHW division would be toppled to the ground with a loss to Gustafsson and/or Cormier. Pitting them against each other would temporarily remove one of them from the title picture. Jones running through contenders at such an alarming pace that they really can’t afford losing a top fight.

So that’s why we’re seeing guys like Bader and Rogerio become “steppingstones” to the title, rather than matching up the top guys to eliminate each other. It’s an interesting situation that everyone has probably already thought of. Hearing Jones say it out loud makes it even more so.

  1. […] the plan is to protect the contenders until a “new and improved” 205 pound division evolves. That could take a while. Especially when […]

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