It appears Jon Jones’ will-he-won’t he saga with the heavyweight division will keep right on keeping on.
This weekend, Jones will defend his light heavyweight title against Thiago Santos, and while Santos has earned his title shot, the widespread belief is that Jones will make easy work of the hard-hitting “Marreta.” Should he do so, Jones will hold wins over five of the top 10 ranked contenders in the division and the calls for Jones to move up to heavyweight will only grow louder from the fans who have been getting increasingly interested in the Jones moving up to test himself against bigger men.
But Jones himself has been seemingly uninterested in doing so. Despite his career rival Daniel Cormier currently holding the heavyweight belt, and the en vogue nature of “champ-champs” running rampant through the UFC at this moment, Jones has consistently said he is currently focused on defending his light heavyweight title and that heavyweight was a future Jones concern. Or perhaps, a future UFC concern.
Speaking with ESPN over the weekend, Jones revealed that while he is focused on light heavyweight at the moment, he’s willing to move up a division is the UFC comes with the right paycheck.
“I am interested in fighting at heavyweight but I’m also aware that there’s a lot of work to be done in the light heavyweight division,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of big fights that people want to see me have in the light heavyweight division so there’s really no need for me to go to heavyweight. I’m doing well where I’m at, I’m making weight really easily and I feel like when the UFC approaches me about a fight they feel will be a megafight and they come with the numbers that would make sense for me to do that, I’ll totally do it. But right now the UFC I think is happy with me being a dominant light heavyweight champion and like we said, there’s a lot of really great new challenges. So there’s a lot of work to be done where I’m at and it’s gonna take that checkbook for me to bounce up to heavyweight.”
As arguably the most dominant champion in UFC history, it makes sense that Jones would be looking to maximize his value and get what he is worth. After all, moving up does, on paper, seem to be a more dangerous proposition than continuing his current stranglehold on the 205 pound division. But the monetary opportunities up at heavyweight certainly are appealing, as a trilogy fight with Cormier is likely one of the biggest fights the UFC can make at this point. Jones and Cormier have both previously been less than keen on the idea but Jones admits the fight makes sense from a business standpoint and says he’d be ready to accept it, if the UFC really wanted to make that happen.
“That would make the most sense,” Jones said. “There’s still a lot of interest in me fighting Daniel Cormier for some reason. I don’t really know what it is. The first time I won by unanimous decision and the second time I won by knockout so I don’t know why people want to see us fight again so bad but at heavyweight I guess that would add a few different factors. So yeah, if that’s the fight the world wants to see, I know one thing about the UFC, we give the fans what they want.”
The fans certainly do seem to want that but at this point it seems unlikely. Cormier is currently set to defend his title in a rematch with Stipe Miocic and after that, the 40 year old heavyweight champion may well retire from the sport. If that ends up being the case, Jones can keep himself busy at 205 until another big opportunity comes at heavyweight. A lot of top middleweight talent has recently decided to move up to light heavyweight, including former champions Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman, both of whom have been targeting eventual shots at Jones. It’s a nice turn of events for a man who had all but cleared out his division right before his multi-year self-immolation stretch came about.
“I remember not too long ago people talking about me clearing out the division and that’s nothing I ever believed,” Jones said. “I don’t think it’s possible to clear out a division. There’s always gonna be new talent, new dreamers, new challengers and I look at them as my next round of motivation. These guys are all talented and I think it will be a good test for me to show how great I can be by continuing on my winning ways with this new fresh blood.”
Jones will get his opportunity to continue doing just that when he defends his title on Saturday against Thiago Santos at UFC 239 in Las Vegas, NV.
UFC Minneapolis. Francis Ngannou demolishes Junior dos Santos with 71-second TKO.
Cage Warriors. Ross Houston vs. Nicolas Dalby main event ends in bloodbath, no contest.
Deserves. Francis Ngannou told Dana White, ‘I need the title shot’ after KO of Junior dos Santos.
Money. Dana White explains why he can’t promise title shots to Francis Ngannou or Joseph Benavidez yet.
Also money. Dana White understands why so many fighters have become Conor McGregor clones.
Detail. Daniel Cormier to be featured on UFC version of Kobe Bryant’s ‘Detail’ show.
UFC Minneapolis post-fight presser.
Countdown UFC 239.
Jorge Masvidal with the Modelo curse.
Woodley breaks down BJ’s first win in a decade.
Now Steve-O wants in on the the Biebs-Cruise action.
Nunes’ best highlights.
6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC Minneapolis.
Severe MMA. Discussing the Cage Warriors bloodbath, UFC 239 and Francis Ngannou.
Also, good lord.
If I lost the first crack at @HenryCejudo to @JoeJitsu, I wouldn’t be mad at all. Joey B is legend of the game and with that performance it’s tough to argue who should get the first chance to dethrone the King. Congrats Benevidez! #UFCMinneapolis
— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) June 30, 2019
I understand all the background stuff to build both our cases from a @UFC PR stand point. Joey B winning like that, while having a win over HC, gives him good skin in the game to get the first crack. I earned it as well. This double champ shit is sadly getting old. https://t.co/HTAS6s0ZYj
— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) June 30, 2019
Dalby after the bloodbath.
In just over a year I’ve clawed myself up from a very dark place full of depression to where I am today. In this interview I realized that achieving my dreams might depend on how the fight was declared on paper rather than what actually transpired. Hopefully logic will prevail ❤️ https://t.co/Zq9nWX3VrL
— Nicolas “Lokomotivo” Dalby (@DalbyMMA) June 30, 2019
Big John with the low key shade at Cage Warriors.
Referee @marcgoddard_uk did an outstanding job & made the right call even though I know it was the last thing he wanted to do. The fighters were unable to keep their footing or maintain position on the mat. This is what can happen when a promoter uses a cheap vinyl cover #AskBJM https://t.co/xwgwcelUxO
— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) June 30, 2019
@JonnyBones you are a great fighter. And I had no right to bad mouth you. Good luck on Saturday.
— Matt Hamill (@hammer_hamill) June 30, 2019
Ready to come back.
Max did a thing over the weekend.
Not as clean but still got it. While holding a drink.
Weidman declines to join in for the best reason.
UFC San Antonio poster.
Mickey Gall got his black belt.
Angela Lee (9-1) vs. Xiong Jingnan (14-1); ONE Championship, Oct. 13.
Aung La Nsang (25-10), 1 NC) vs. Brandon Vera (16-7, 1 NC); ONE Championship, Oct. 13.
Bibiano Fernandes (23-4) vs. Kevin Belingon (20-6); ONE Championship, Oct. 13.
2006: Josh Barnett, Mirko Cro Cop, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Wanderlei Silva won at Pride Critical Countdown Absolute to advance to the semifinals of the 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix.
Got a busy week this week what with the 4th of July, International Fight Week, and UFC 239. Keep it locked here for all your MMA coverage needs. Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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