'Daddy's home': Jon Jones stops Alexander Gustafsson to win light-heavyweight title at UFC 232
In a rematch of the pair's classic encounter of five years ago, Jones again prevailed, this time stopping the Swede via KO in the third round following a ground assault.
Jones reclaims the light-heavyweight title he was stripped of after a doping violation in the run-up to his fight against Daniel Cormier last year.
Jones was stepping into the octagon for the first time since that fight after serving a suspension, but showed little sign of rust as he put in a controlled performance.
The US fighter stayed tight in defense as Gustafsson attempted to take the fight to him, particularly in the second round, but Jones remained in control with leg shots.
Jones pressed the advantage in the third, taking the fight to the mat where he finished it with strikes to Gustafsson’s head.
While the first fight between the pair went the distance in what was a classic see-saw contest, Jones was always in the ascendancy in the second meeting.
One of the most gifted MMA fighters of all time, Jones is also one of the sport’s most controversial.
Sure enough, scandal struck again in the run-up to the fight with Gustafsson as Jones returned an abnormal drug test, causing the entire UFC 232 card to be moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles at a week’s notice.
But, as so often in the past, Jones ultimately did his talking in the octagon as he controlled a man who is one of very few to have posed him problems in the past.
Jones, 31, looked smooth throughout the contest, and overcame a second-round poke in the eye from Gustafsson to step things up and finish the Swede in the third.
The man nicknamed 'Bones' also had choice words for long-time rival Cormier after the fight, telling him "Daddy's home."
"I know there's a guy who's been calling himself 'champ champ'," Jones said.
"I mean, what guy just gives up his belt because somebody else made it home? Daddy's home, DC.
"Prove to the fans you're a 'champ champ'. Come get a taste, I'm here. Get your belt back. I'll be waiting right here."
Cormier - a champion at light-heavyweight and heavyweight, and who has faced Jones twice before - had relinquished the light-heavyweight strap on the eve of Jones' return, rather than be stripped of the belt.Also on rt.com 'I'd rather walk away with my head held high': Cormier relinquishes UFC light heavyweight title
After a checkered history laden with controversy, Jones is now back and has taken one step towards redemption with the win over Gustafsson.
Now the calls will only grow for a third installment in the Jones versus Cormier saga.