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Jones benefits from Gustafsson win

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MMA Live Extra: Gustafsson Wins (4:36)

MMA Live Extra breaks down Alexander Gustafsson's win over Jimi Manuwa at UFC Fight Night 37 in London. (4:36)

Jimi Manuwa was in over his head.

Let's be frank. With respect to the hard-hitting light heavy, he wasn't beating Alexander Gustafsson at UFC Fight Night 37 on Saturday.

The intrigue of the main event was never about Manuwa. He made for a great supporting actor, but the show was about Alexander Gustafsson and whether, by some form of train wreck, he might let a rematch against Jones slip away.

And considering this -- that the fight was always Gustafsson's to lose and when it was over, we all basically said, "Yeah, that looks about right," -- I feel slightly obligated to defend UFC champion Jon Jones for a paragraph or two.

Fans have lit up Jones since he (a) opted to fight Glover Teixeira next month instead of Gustafsson, (b) referred to Gustafsson's fight against Manuwa as an "easy path" back to the title and (c) suggested Gustafsson fight Daniel Cormier to determine the No. 1 contender.

I mean, in reality, are Jones' comments that far off the mark? Again, no disrespect to Manuwa, but did he represent a real challenge to Gustafsson's rematch hopes? Does Gustafsson's win over Manuwa (or Cormier's recent win over Patrick Cummins) feel completely like a high-profile, No. 1 contender win?

Jones will never be guilty of always saying the right thing, but in this case, I don't find his statements about Gustafsson that appalling. Jones is facing a brute at UFC 172 in Baltimore. While I probably won't pick Teixeira to beat him, he's a real threat -- a powerful opponent with a great chin, combinations and wrestling ability.

That doesn't figure to be an easy fight for Jones, whether he's favored or not. There is plenty of danger involved. You can't (or at least I can't) really hate the guy for asking Gustafsson to face a similar level of danger.

Bottom line: I don't see the logic in accusing Jones of running scared when he's never done so in the cage, where it really matters. Anyway, below are the grades for UFC Fight Night 37 and Bellator 111.