UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was pushed to the test Saturday night at UFC 165.
And, as “Bones” stated afterwards, he used his “warrior spirit” to prevail.
Jones earned a decision victory over Alexander Gustafsson, surpassing Tito Ortiz with his sixth successful title defense. He also joined Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre and Royce Gracie as the only fighters with 10 consecutive UFC wins.
“Tonight was a blessing in so many ways,” said Jones, who had two swollen eyes and a busted mouth after the five-round war. “I got to (show) my warrior spirit and that makes me happier than getting the win.”
Jones was denied on several takedown attempts, and was even taken down for the first time in his UFC career by the challenger early in the fight. Gustafsson used precision striking to keep Jones off balance, and the champion admitted after that he may have caused himself problems in training.
“I proved a lot to myself,” he said. “I am not satisfied. I have a lot of work to do.
“He is a tough fighter. I spent a lot of time on my boxing (in training). Maybe that was not the best idea; I should have used more versatility.”
Throughout his fights, Jones has been able to execute his game plans and pick opponents apart. “The Mauler,” though, forced Jones to go all-out in the latter stages of the fight, and he did just that.
“I knew (the fourth) round was close,” he said. “I had some desperation. I tried to stay calm, focused; Alexander was very game, he has a chin on him.”