The first inductee for the UFC Hall of Fame, Class of 2020 was announced Saturday, during the UFC 248 broadcast. Heading to the Hall in the Fight Wing will be a light heavyweight classic: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165.
The light heavyweight title fight topped the card in Toronto on September 21, 2013. Nearly seven years later, it still resonates as arguably the greatest light heavyweight fight of all time. And if not that (we see you, Shogun vs. Hendo), then certainly the greatest 205lb title fight in UFC history.
For Jones, it was the sixth title defense of his inaugural reign. And the first to come against a fighter who had never before held or challenged for gold in the UFC. But the match-up with Sweden’s Gustafsson was one fans had eagerly anticipated, as Gustafsson’s physical attributes — height, reach — were in line with Jones’ own.
Gustafsson entered the showdown with Jones on the strength of a six-fight win streak. What unfolded in the octagon that night in Toronto, however, was something few expected. ‘The Mauler’ took it to Jones, pushing him all the way to the fifth and final round. The crowd at what was then known as the Air Canada Centre were heavily behind the challenger, and more than a little upset that Jon Jones walked away with a unanimous decision win. Final scores, 48–47, 48–47, 49–46.
Still, the fight cemented Jones as one of the all-time greats. ‘Bones’ surpassed Tito Ortiz for the light heavyweight title defense record at UFC 165, after securing his sixth successful defense.
Jones and Gustafsson would rematch at UFC 232 in 2018. Jones would once again win the bout, much more decisively thanks to a third-round TKO.
Jones vs. Gustafsson at UFC 165 will officially join the promotion’s Hall of Fame this July during International Fight Week.