Saturday, March 8, 2014 | 4:30 p.m.
Alexander Gustafsson ripped the microphone out of the hands of the post-fight interviewer Saturday afternoon in London.
This message didn’t require a mediator. Gustafsson needed no prompt to call out his foil, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, after knocking out Jimi Manuwa at 1:18 of the second round in a UFC Fight Night card.
“Jon Jones, I want my title shot again,” Gustafsson’s voice boomed through the 02 Arena. “I’m right here. Whenever you want, man.”
Gustafsson believed he deserved an immediate rematch after pushing Jones last September in a unanimous-decision loss considered one of the best fights in UFC history. The UFC had other thoughts, pairing Gustafsson with Manuwa in the first major fight aired on its new online Fight Pass product.
Gustafsson used the intermediary opportunity to wipe away doubts from anyone questioning whether he was worthy of another shot against Jones. “The Mauler” trounced the heavy-handed undefeated Englishman in every area.
Gustafsson outwrestled Manuwa in the first round, taking him down and controlling for the bulk of the frame, before letting his hands loose in the second and starting the finishing sequence with a couple of uppercuts.
“That’s one nasty rematch we have coming,” White said.
White qualified his enthusiasm with the disclaimer that Jones must first get through his upcoming bout against Glover Teixeira at UFC 171 on April 26 in Baltimore. That’s the part everyone seems to look past with the excitement for Jones vs. Gustafsson II.
Texieira is undefeated through five fights in the UFC, but Jones is still a 6-to-1 favorite. That’s around the same price Gustafsson was against Manuwa.
The Swede held up his end of the deal in making the rematch.
“The fight was awesome,” White said. “Those guys were toe-to-toe, banging it out. He was in there trading big shots with this guy and ended up finishing him.”
Gustafsson earned $100,000 in bonuses for his showing in London — $50,000 apiece for Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night. White was so stirred by the bout that he surprisingly said Gustafsson would get the next title shot regardless of the Jones vs. Teixeira outcome.
Typically, a champion as dominant as Jones — who’s the top pound-for-pound fighter after defending his belt six straight times — would get a rematch right away after his first loss.
But few, perhaps dangerously, think it will come to that. The anticipation for the second fight between UFC’s two best light heavyweights has officially begun.
“I just want to fight him,” Gustafsson said. “That’s all I want. I want to fight him, and I want to finish him.”