With the return of Jon Jones and the subsequent crowning of a new champion upon the return at UFC 232, the light heavyweight division and all the possibilities for the next world title bout have opened up. One very familiar bout that has been tossed around is that of Jon Jones facing Daniel Cormier in a trilogy bout. But with Daniel Cormier committed to facing either Brock Lesnar or Stipe Miocic next, Anthony Smith has been receiving a lot of attention as a possible option for Jones’s first title defense.
Following Jon Jones’s UFC 232 victory over Alexander Gustafsson, Jones and Smith had a brief run in during a Fox interview, with Smith inquiring what Jones had planned for July. Yesterday, Jones insinuated that July is the furthest thing on his mind:
This man is trying to wait until July, I got some catching up to do. https://t.co/eUQ68uCMQY
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) December 31, 2018
“This man is trying to wait until July, I got some catching up to do,” Jones wrote. Anthony Smith would then reply with a much more flexible schedule:
I just thought that sounded fun. I think we can set the games aside, Jon. You and I both know I need a date and location. You name it, I’ll be there. https://t.co/8aO9MiwFtp
— Anthony Smith (@lionheartasmith) December 31, 2018
“I just thought that sounded fun. I think we can set the games aside, Jon. You and I both know I need a date and location. You name it, I’ll be there.”
Right in the middle of these public and informal negotiations, an unexpected third party decided to interject:
@JonnyBones F what the people talking about, I’m your huckleberry. Everybody else is booked and Smith hasn’t earned his stripes. @ufc @AliAbdelaziz00 @danawhite @Mickmaynard2 @arielhelwani @MMAjunkie pic.twitter.com/n6Q3bnhB8u
— Corey Anderson UFC (@CoreyA_MMA) January 1, 2019
“@JonnyBones F what the people talking about,” tweeted Corey Anderson. “I’m your huckleberry. Everybody else is booked and Smith hasn’t earned his stripes.”
Attached to the tweet is a lengthy dissertation from Anderson pointing out that he has defeated Glover Teixeira and Ilir Latifi, when the talk was that both fights, at the time of the booking, would put him in a position for a title shot if successful. Well, Anderson has defeated them both and is currently on a three-fight winning streak, and he is now looking to cash in on the momentum at the expense of Anthony Smith. Jon Jones was swift to respond to Anderson’s callout:
You sure you want this smoke @CoreyA_MMA
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) January 1, 2019
“You sure you want this smoke @CoreyA_MMA?”
Of course, Corey Anderson would then answer in the affirmative and that he does, in fact, desire the smoke. It is now up to the UFC brass, perhaps with some input from Jones himself, on whether or not he will get it.
Who do you think is more deserving of a title shot against Jon Jones? Anthony Smith or Corey Anderson?