Following his win at UFC 239, what’s next for Jon Jones?
Whether it be moving up or down a division, there are plenty of fights available for the Light Heavyweight Champion.
Matchmaking in MMA can be incredibly hard sometimes, especially in the UFC. With a roster filled with dominant athletes, there are only so many sets of bouts you can make. They have to reel the fans in while also making sense. The toughest fighters to work around are the champions.
Which brings us to the Light Heavyweight Champion. After beating Thiago Santos via a controversial decision at UFC 239, Jon Jones is a man on a mission. He is looking to continue his run following the end of whatever setback he was dealing with at the time. Seemingly wiping out the light heavyweight division, what kind of fights will Jones (25-1, 1NC) take? He could continue to hunt his division or move on to bigger and better things.
The world is his oyster, and if Uncle Dana White provides him with the right figures, Jones might just take it. Stating he is ready to go by December, who can be deemed worthy of challenging “Bones” Jones?
Running It Back?
No matter what you say, Thiago Santos held his own against Jones, and then some. In a close bout, the judges were all over the place. With so much uncertainty, why not give Santos (21-7) a rematch?
The concern surrounding this is the amount of time Santos may need from the octagon. It was announced following his bout with Jones that Santos had torn his ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus. If everything goes well we may not see Santos until the end of 2019, maybe even further than that. The question will be if Jones is a patient man, which he doesn’t seem to be. Regardless, at some point, a rematch between the two doesn’t sound so bad at all.
Others Within The Division
When it comes to his own division, Jones has seen and beaten them all. Ovince Saint Preux, Anthony Smith, Alexander Gustafsson (twice) are just a few fighters that Jones has threw out to the curb. One thing is for sure though: the UFC is budding with rising talent.
You have Dominick Reyes (10-0), who is ranked fourth in the UFC’s light heavyweight rankings. At 29, Reyes has beaten the likes of OSP and Volkan Oezdemir. You also have a fighter who just got moved up to fifth in the rankings in Jan Blachowicz. The 36-year-old Blachowicz (24-8) just beat Luke Rockhold at UFC 239 via KO. 5-1 in his last six fights, Blachowicz has not faced Jones yet. With Johnny Walker creeping into the top ten soon, you could also give him the rub. Is he really ready though?
Competition “Lower” Than Him
While he could stay at light heavyweight or move to heavyweight (we’ll get to that later), someone outside of those two divisions is eying Jones. Israel Adesanya and Jones have been in a strange war of words against one another recently. The interim Middleweight Champion believes his own hype and has the impression he can beat Jones.
On Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Adesanya didn’t mince his words when talking about Jones’ controversial history.
“He (Jones) was great when he was fighting and there wasn’t USADA around, but now, the man needs to get back on the pictograms if he wants to be great again.”
While he is focused on Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker, Adesanya is looking into the future. Similar in style and cockiness, a Jones v. Adesanya scrap would be fascinating for a number of reasons.
As it was stated before, Jones has cleaned through the light heavyweight division. What better way to cement his status as one of the best fighters of all time than by moving up to the heavyweight division? With a bout against Brock Lesnar off of the table, Jones can set his sights on the Heavyweight Title. The holder of that belt? Daniel Cormier.
If you don’t know the history between Cormier and Jones you are missing out. While Jones is technically 2-0 against Cormier, their last bout against one another was overturned thanks to a failed sample by Jones. Even if Cormier has nothing left to prove, a win against Jones to end his career does sound pretty sexy. As muscular as ever, a move to heavyweight could see some big changes to Jones.
Cormier must get through Stipe Miocic at UFC 241, a rematch of their bout at UFC 226. Another win could bring forward the Jones fight. If Stipe were to win? Jones would look past DC and go straight for the Cleveland fireman. How can you say no to another Cormier v. Jones match though, regardless of the situation?
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