Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson was disappointed he was given a fight against a talented prospect instead of the rematch he wanted with champion Jon Jones.
Gustafsson took his frustrations out on Jimi Manuwa with a second-round knockout in the main event of UFC Fight Night 37 on Saturday in London.
After landing a knee against the cage that stunned Manuwa, Gustafsson followed with a series of uppercuts that dropped Manuwa face first on the mat and ended the fight.
Gustafsson called for a rematch with Jones, who will defend the belt against Glover Teixeira next month, after handing Manuwa the first loss of his career.
“I want Jon Jones next,” Gustafsson said. “I can’t wait to have another chance at him.”
Gustafsson almost pulled an upset of Jones in September. Jones was awarded the decision in a bout named the best fight of the year by several publications.
UFC president Dana White said Gustafsson is officially the top contender.
“As long as Jones gets through Teixeira, that’s one nasty rematch (between Jones and Gustafsson) we’ve got coming,” White said.
Lightweight Michael Johnson extended his winning streak to three with a unanimous decision over former training partner Melvin Guillard.
Their relationship had soured since Guillard left the Blackzilians camp in Florida, where Johnson trains. The fight lacked the expected fireworks, and two of the sport’s most exciting fighters heard boos.
“I came to fight, so tonight was obviously very frustrating,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if he was scared or what. The fans had a right to boo. I would’ve booed, too. I’m not happy at all, but a win is a win.”
Brad Pickett was successful in his flyweight debut, scoring a unanimous decision over Neil Seery.
Pickett didn’t waste any time calling out 125-pound champion Demetrious Johnson. Pickett won a decision over Johnson when they were bantamweight contenders in World Extreme Cagefighting in 2010.
“When I made the decision to make the weight cut, there was only one reason. My eye was on the champion,” Pickett said. “I came to this weight class to be No. 1 in the world. I didn’t cut all this weight for (expletives) and giggles.”
Also on the main card, welterweight prospect Gunnar Nelson returned from more than a year off to remain unbeaten with a dominant first-round submission over Omari Akhmedov.
“I’m very excited,” Nelson said. “It’s been a while. I’m very happy with this win. I’m ready (for a top contender).”
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.