In comments made to UFC.com on Monday, White said Jones has still refused to sign bout agreements for a proposed rematch against Gustafsson on Aug. 30 in Las Vegas. Jones defeated Gustafsson via unanimous decision in a close fight in September.
Late last month, White told reporters at a UFC event in Las Vegas he was working on a “new deal” with Jones, which figured to be the primary reason Jones hadn’t agreed yet to the fight. Gustafsson verbally committed to the date and location on May 24.
On Monday, White made it clear the holdup is not related to Jones’ current UFC contract.
“Just to clear up a couple things, people think we’re in contract negotiations with Jon Jones — we’re not,” White said. “Jon Jones still has five fights on his contract.
“So, what we’re doing right now is trying to get him to sign the bout agreement for Gustafsson. He doesn’t want to fight Gustafsson. (UFC co-owner) Lorenzo (Fertitta) and I have a meeting with Jones on Thursday to get him to sign the bout agreement and he’s asking to fight Cormier instead.”
Jones (20-1) has yet to comment publicly on the rematch since it was first reported that he had been offered the fight. He did, however, indirectly comment on the situation via Twitter on Monday. When asked by a fan if he had signed a contract yet, Jones wrote, “What contract?”
A rematch between Jones and Gustafsson (16-2) has seemed inevitable ever since the first meeting at UFC 165 produced such a close fight. Gustafsson came within one round of dethroning the champ, however Jones ultimately won via scores of 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47. He has defended the 205-pound title a UFC record seven consecutive times.
Cormier (15-0) is widely recognized as next in line for a shot at Jones, behind Gustafsson. A former U.S. Olympic wrestler, Cormier is coming off a dominant submission win over Dan Henderson at UFC 173 last month.
Following his most recent win over Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in April, Jones, 26, refused to answer questions related to Gustafsson at the post-fight press conference.
By Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com