Round four marked the first time that Gustafsson had ever fought past three rounds in his professional MMA career. With both athletes pushing the pace, Alexander took the early advantage by landing several jabs and hooks, stuffing Jones’ takedown attempts in the process. Jones, bleeding heavily from his right eye, connected on a series of left elbows, stunning Gustafsson by landing a reverse elbow with 35 seconds remaining and capitalizing with elbows and knees with Alexander against the cage. Jones ended the round with an elbow and a flying knee, taking control of the round and the fight in the process. Jones and Gustafsson combined for 53 significant strikes in the fourth frame, which ranked as second-most in a light heavyweight title fight in UFC history at the time.
Jon and Alexander each entered the final round bleeding heavily and they each stayed in the center of the Octagon exchanging punches. Jones secured his first takedown of Gustafsson with 3:00 remaining, but both athletes quickly stood up. Jon would connect on a left head kick with 2:22 left in the round, but Alexander kept moving without showing any effects. With Gustafsson physically exhausted, Jones advanced, landing a series of high kicks and punches as Alexander struggled to stay on his feet. Jon would land three consecutive head kicks, an elbow and a flying knee to conclude the fight.
Jones would win the bout via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46), setting a new record for most consecutive title defenses in UFC light heavyweight history.
Both athletes combined to land 244 significant strikes, which set a new UFC light heavyweight record at the time and currently ranks second all-time in the division (260 – UFC 192 – Cormier vs. Gustafsson). Jon would also set two new UFC light heavyweight title fight records by landing 53 leg kicks and 134 significant strikes, surpassing his previous record of 105.
Gustafsson’s 110 significant strikes landed against Jones were the second-most by a light heavyweight in a UFC title fight in history at the time and ranked as the most strikes absorbed by Jones in any of his 20 fights, with 45 being the previous high. Alexander attempted 288 significant strikes during the fight, besting the previous high against Jon of 151 by Rashad Evans at UFC 145.
Gustafsson provided Jones with the toughest test of his career to date, while also matching Jon in some of his more favorable areas. A decorated wrestler in high school and junior college, Jones was unable to take Alexander down on 10 of his 11 attempts, with Gustafsson utilizing skills learned from training with former NCAA Division I National Champion wrestler (2008) Phil Davis.
An instant classic, this fight would earn 2013 Fight of the Year Award honors by ESPN, Sherdog, FOX Sports, Yahoo! Sports, MMA Junkie, MMA Fighting, MMA Weekly and the World MMA Awards.
The pair met in a rematch with the vacant UFC light heavyweight title on the line in the main event of UFC 232®: JONES vs. GUSTAFSSON 2 on December 29, 2018 in Los Angeles. Jones would defeat Gustafsson for a second time, via TKO in the third round, to regain the UFC light heavyweight crown. Since recapturing the title at UFC 232, Jones has defended his title three times and recently set a new record for most championship victories in UFC history, with 14, following his unanimous decision victory over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247®: JONES vs. REYES on February 8, 2020 in Houston.
Gustafsson returned to the Octagon on June 1, 2019, in the main event of UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: GUSTAFSSON vs. SMITH, in his hometown of Stockholm, Sweden. Anthony Smith defeated Alexander via rear-naked choke submission in the fourth round. Following his defeat, Gustafsson retired inside the Octagon, ending an 11-year career with a record of 18-6 (10-6 UFC).
The remaining inductees of the UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will be announced in the coming weeks leading to the 9th Annual UFC International Fight Week™, which takes place from Tuesday, July 9 through Sunday, July 12 in Las Vegas.
To see a complete list of UFC athletes and fights enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame, as well as details regarding the UFC Hall of Fame format, please visit UFCHOFFAQ. For additional information, please visit UFC.com.