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.