By Elias Cepeda
After earning a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title, Alexander Gustafsson said Saturday night that he won’t wait around for the winner of champion Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen to fight again. Jones and Sonnen are currently slated to face one another for Jones’ belt after the season of The Ultimate Fighter that they are currently coaching on finishes.
The Swedish contender put himself in line for a shot with a dominant unanimous decision win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at Saturday’s UFC on Fox card but at the post event press conference said that he would be happy to risk his title shot by fighting again in the interim. “I want to fight for the belt, and if they give me one before that, it doesn’t matter. I’ll fight whoever the UFC gives me,” he said.
“I want to stay active, and I want to fight.” The young kickboxer has no interest in waiting another half year or more to fight.
“I’ll fight whenever. I was away for a long time. The last time I fought was in April, and that was too long. To wait till summer again, that would be too long.”
UFC President Dana White seems to be in accordance with that thought. “If I was [Gustafsson], I’d want to get another fight in before taking on Jon Jones,” he said.
“He could fight again. I’m hearing Dan Henderson’s knee isn’t better, so maybe Gustafsson should fight Machida next,” White continued.
Henderson’s poor health status is evidentally news to the fighter himself. The former Pride champion was scheduled to fight Jon Jones earlier this year but pulled out after he injured his knee in training camp. He is now scheduled to take on former UFC champion Lyoto Machida in February at UFC 157: These Chicks Can Fight.
On his twitter account, Dan reacted incredulously to White’s supposed inside information on his knee. “Not sure where @danawhite thinks he’s hearing that my knee isn’t doing ok. It’s doing great. Slowly picking training up just like I do for every training camp,” he tweeted.
This latest disagreement on facts between fighter and promoter certainly won’t help Henderson’s paranoia and sense of entitlement when it comes to the light heavyweight title. He was given a shot at Jon Jones after a razor-thin, controversial decision win over Rua in 2011 that saw Hendo mounted and beaten on for the better part of the fight’s second half.
Then, he decided to pull out of the title fight after keeping his injury secret for just long enough to make it tough for the UFC to secure a viable, credible and deserving substitution. After Jones agreed to fight Henderson’s friend and long time training partner, Chael Sonnen, this coming spring, “Hollywood Dan” publicly said that Sonnen’s title shot was cheapening the sport while suggesting that somehow he should still be the next person in line to fight Jones.
Of course, Henderson would be justified in his frustration over White either making up “information” about his knee or sharing actual info about it that Henderson himself has not announced or made official. As it stands, the boss and fighter seem to be telling entirely different stories about whether or not Henderson will, in fact, be fighting in February.
Let’s hope they get on the same page soon.