According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC are apparently looking at a 205lb matchup between Alexander Gustafsson and Yoel Romero for UFC 230.
Since the news emerged that Jon Jones would be receiving a far more lenient sentence from USADA than originally expected, speculation linking him to the still-vacant UFC 230 headliner spot has been rampant.
And honestly, it’s the move that would make the most sense on paper. Jones is a New York-native and while his stock with the sport’s fanbase isn’t at its highest, he remains one of the game’s most marketable stars and his eventual return will no doubt generate some serious interest.
However, Dana White was quick to deny the fact that the promotion will turn to Jones for the Madison Square Garden card – and while we all know exactly how fickle his word can be – it does appear as though other options are being looked at.
Ariel Helwani reported first that a light-heavyweight title showdown between longtime contender Alexander Gustafsson and the former-middleweight Yoel Romero is in the works.
It’s not immediately clear whether it will be an interim-bout or not but you would have to assume so considering that reigning champion Daniel Cormier defended his belt successfully in January.
UFC seriously discussing booking Yoel Romero vs. Alexander Gustafsson at light heavyweight for the MSG card on 11/3, according to multiple sources. The fight isn’t finalized, though. A title would be on the line with both interim and official options discussed.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 26, 2018
It certainly would be a strange call. Gustafsson is a worthy contender for the belt and both he and Romero are among the greatest MMA fighters ever to never win a belt, but slapping an interim-title in a time where there isn’t exactly a need for one is odd.
Then again, though, these are the times we are living in.
I would still keep an eye on the Jon Jones saga as it unfolds furthers. Dana White has been known to go back on his word before.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena