UFC: Should Jon Jones take a heavyweight tune-up fight?

UFC, Jon Jones

Arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time is going through a career transformation. Former UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is currently preparing his move to the UFC‘s heavyweight division.

The former light heavyweight champion vacated his title this year due to his desire to move up in weight. Jones has had some run-ins with the UFC this year where he asked for a release, but those talks have since faded.

Jonny Bones wanted to fight top heavyweight contender, Francis Ngannou after the pandemic had started. However, he wanted a bump in his pay which the UFC was not willing to do which caused a spat between the two sides.

Again, there seems to be no more bad blood between the two. Now, Jones is focused on getting stronger as he prepares to chase down heavyweight gold. Dana White said Jones would get a UFC heavyweight title shot whenever he makes his debut at heavyweight.

However, he could be waiting a while. Francis Ngannou is slated to take on the champion, Stipe Miocic, early next year. Currently that heavyweight title fight is being targeted for March, however, it’s not been officially announced.

That means that at the earliest, Jones likely wouldn’t get a shot at the heavyweight crown until the summer. At that point, Jones would have been out of the cage for at least 16 months. So, should Jon Jones take a tune-up fight at heavyweight?

What should the UFC and Jones do?

I’m going to say the same thing that Dana White said in that Jones should be fighting for the UFC‘s heavyweight title in his divisional debut. However, 16+ months is a long layoff for Jones who has already experienced lengthy layoffs in his career.

Let’s say Jones wants to get in a fight before the title fight. Who should the UFC pair him against? Many were saying that Jones could fight the winner of UFC Vegas 15’s main event which featured Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis.

That main event was scrapped after Blaydes tested positive for COVID. That fight is currently being re-booked for either December or January. Personally, I think it would make a lot of sense if Jones were to fight the winner.

Whoever wins that fight would be on a multiple fight winning streak. The winner of that fight would have likely been the number one contender after Ngannou if Jones wasn’t in the picture.

Reality of the situation is that the UFC will likely hold Jones until he can get a title shot. I think the winner of the Blaydes/Lewis fight will likely fight someone like Jairzinho Rozenstruik next as opposed to fighting Jon Jones.

UFC: Jon Jones is willing to sit out to benefit other fighters

UFC, Jon Jones

UFC light heavyweight champion, and the GOAT in many pundits’ eyes is willing to walk away from the sport for a considerable amount of time. Jon Jones is back in the news today after he appeared on Steve-O’s Wild Ride Podcast. Jones was asked about his feelings on the UFC and Jones stated, “I have no interest in fighting for the UFC.” When asked some follow-up questions, Jones talked about being willing to sit out to benefit fighters down the line.

Where does Jones and the UFC stand?

The short answer is not in a good place. After all of his ups and downs, Jones returned in December of 2018. Jones fought four times in fourteen months leading many to believe Jones was back for good. It was the most active we had ever seen Jones in his career. When the pandemic hit, a lot of things changed with Jones and the UFC. By all accounts, Jones and the UFC were on good terms. That is until Jones started asking for a raise to fight UFC heavyweight contender, Francis Ngannou.

When Jones went to the UFC and asked for more money, he was shut down immediately. Jones claims he never asked for a specific dollar amount while Dana White claims that Jones’ demands were astronomical. Following White’s comments, a very public back and forth began between the two men. Jones went as far as to demand a release from the UFC.

Where do we go from here?

Now, we are in this weird spot. Things have seemingly calmed down, and Dana White has sounded more optimistic lately even saying that they would, “Work it out.” However, Jones’ appearances on Steve-O’s podcast would seemingly indicate otherwise. Jones continues to reiterate that he wants no part of the UFC, and he feels that sitting out now will move the needle more in the direction of the fighters.

I really think they will get this worked out eventually. The UFC has had a long history of making deals with fighters that are difficult. However, Daniel Cormier brought up a good point recently when he talked about the fact that Jones being out for a long time made him realize he’s able to live a life outside the UFC. Jon Jones doesn’t need the UFC. He’s made enough money to retire. If he walks away now, many people would label him the greatest to ever do it. It’ll be facinating to watch this continue to play out. I think it’s going to simmer down for a while, but I think Jones could be approached by the UFC after the August title fight between Cormier and Stipe Miocic. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Jon Jones in the UFC, but I’m not sure when he’ll be back.