Jon Jones is once again a UFC champion.
Precise as ever in returning from his most recent layoff, Jones registered a third-round knockout of Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC 232 on Saturday night to reclaim the light heavyweight title.
The polarizing superstar was in full control from the jump, taking each of the first two rounds before getting the fight to the ground and starting to dominate in the third. He landed some vicious elbows after an early takedown and eventually worked his way to back control, where he unleashed his devastating ground and pound to force the stoppage at 2:03.
Jones, whose drug test issues dominated headlines leading up to the star-studded event, moves to 21-1-1 for his career, with his sole loss coming in the form of a disqualification for illegal downward elbows in 2009.
After the convincing win, Jones floated the idea of a third matchup with current heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier.
Cormier, a now-former two-weight champ after vacating the light heavyweight belt ahead of Saturday’s card, fell to Jones in each of their two prior meetings. The most recent result was quickly overturned, however, as Jones was stripped of the title and suspended after testing positive for a metabolite.
What could have been a four-year ban ended up being reduced to 15 months after an arbitration ruling, clearing the way for Jones to headline Saturday’s card, but an another issue arose last week when recent tests returned atypical findings.
Although USADA deemed the “residual amounts” of the same metabolite to be consistent with the previous tests, and thus not considered intentional doping, Nevada didn’t have time to investigate the matter and would not license the fight.
As a result, the UFC made the controversial decision to move the entire event from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on short notice.
Gustafsson drops to a career mark of 18-5 with his second loss to Jones in as many meetings.
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