Just days ahead of his rematch with Jon Jones at UFC 232, light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson is tired of mincing words.
Gustafsson has been relatively silent on Jones and the former light heavyweight champion’s multiple drug test failures in the build to Saturday’s showdown. But after the show was moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles after a trace amount of the same metabolite that resulted in Jones’ suspension from 2017 was found in his system, Gustafsson lashed out at Thursday’s pre-fight press conference when asked if he thought his opponent is a cheater.
“Yes, I do (believe he’s a cheater),” Gustafsson told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the UFC 232 pre-fight news conference. “Yes I do. This guy is not confident. He has to put (expletive) in his body to be confident. That’s all it is.”
While USADA does not consider the trace amount of metabolite found in Jones’ system as a positive test because it’s been ruled to have been a result of the original failed test in 2017, the Nevada State Athletic Commission didn’t feel comfortable licensing Jones without at least a hearing. California, on the other hand, had no problem licensing Jones since it was familiar with his original failed test, thus the move.
Whether Jones is clean or not, Gustafsson is confident he’ll finish his opponent Saturday night, something he couldn’t do in their first go around.
“It won’t help you this time,” Gustafsson said. “There’s illegal stuff in your body. … Whatever this guy’s saying, it’s just bull(expletive). He’s terrible. It’s just terrible. He’s terrible. I’m here to fight.”
Gustafsson (18-4) comes into Saturday’s fight with back-to-back wins, including his stunning knockout of Glover Teixeira. Jones (22-1) hasn’t fought since July 2017, when he knocked out Daniel Cormier before the fight was ruled a no contest and overturned by the California State Athletic Commission.