As everyone has been informed by now, UFC light-heavyweight legend Jon Jones has relinquished his 205-pound championship and has moved up to the heavyweight division. With the added strength and conditioning gains he continues to make, deadlifting up to 600 pounds, Jones has always made an effort to improve himself in that department. Back in 2016, Jackson-Wink head coach and trainer Greg Jackson, along with wrestling coach Israel Martinez had a talk about how Jones’ lifting may have contributed to a less than impressive performance over Ovince St. Preux at UFC 197 in April that year in Las Vegas. Jackson claimed that he fatigues too quickly while lifting heavier weights.
Jones continues to this day to strength train, as one would understand that this will help him in the long run while pursuing a fight at the 265-pound division, especially at 33 years of age, where this can build further durability for the 28-fight veteran. Now that he has jumped into the heavyweight pool head first, who would be a great first opponent for him to face in his debut?
Stipe Miocic ( C ): 20-3-0 (MMA)
As Jon Jones continues to win fight after fight, he has been mentioned to have superfights with some of the best fighters during the 2010’s into 2020. Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and Cain Velasquez have been mentioned during those times, but many people would be more than excited to see him face off against the current UFC Heavyweight Champion. The problem that other people would have is that Jones has to start from scratch and work his way up, but knowing the type of fighters that these two men are, there are some that won’t hesitate to call for a match like this one.
Jones is an elite martial artist with superior striking ability and grappling, winning 10 by KO/TKO, 7 by decision, and 6 submissions while Miocic has grappling accuracy is at only 38 percent. He is a known headhunter, though, with 15 KO/TKO victories. To see this go down would mean a win for Jones due to his well-rounded ability.
Alistair Overeem: 46-18-0 (MMA)
“The Demolition Man” has a world of experience in both MMA, submission wrestling, and kickboxing, as well as moving up from light-heavyweight to heavyweight. With 21 years of fighting experience, he may pose to be a major threat to Jones should they face each other. He has won 52 percent of his fights by KO/TKO and always aims for the body as well as the head. At 40 years young and in magnificent shape, weighing in at 265 pounds, he definitely has the size advantage over a more slim, yet defined fighter nicknamed “Bones”.
Junior dos Santos: 21-8-0 (MMA)
As a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, “Cigano” would definitely be more of a dream matchup between these two as both have knockout power and submission skills in their repertoire. dos Santos only holds one submission victory over Eduardo Maiorino in only his second career MMA fight in Brazil back in 2006. He does have 15 knockout wins in which 5 came in the first round. The 36-year old who owns victories that include Overeem, as well as Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Gabriel Gonzaga, a tit-for-tat even series with the current UFC Heavyweight Champion, and on the losing end of a trilogy involving Cain Velasquez, would and should be the dream opponent against any heavyweight. If Jones feels ready, he knows who to call and who to call out!
Brock Lesnar: 5-3-0, 1 NC (MMA)
Another former UFC Heavyweight Champion aka, “The #1 Free Agent in Combat Sports” was called out on Twitter nearly a month ago when Jones made the jump and Lesnar left the WWE to test the market. Both have wrestling pedigrees that are commendable, with Lesnar taking the edge, being an NCAA Heavyweight Champion at the University of Minnesota in 2000. Jones has yet to be beaten, but has been tested time after time. With Lesnar fighting only nine times, he is still not clearly a superior fighter to Jones as he can be beat easier than advertised, being criticized for “a glass chin”. A marquee name such as him would help the company at the gate ALONE should he return, whether he fights Jones or Jones fights another. If this bout we’re to occur, should Scott Coker’s proposal to Brock in Fedor Emilianenko fall through, “Bones can be seen as the victor.
Derrick Lewis: 24-7-0, 1 NC (MMA)
A former protege of boxing legend, George Foreman, this could be a tough one standing up for Jones. Lewis holds the promotion record for most knockouts with 11, tied with four other fighters. Fighting four bouts in the years 2010, 2016, and 2018 respectively, he holds a 10-2 record during those total stretches. That also tells promoters that he’s reliable and can recover from a fight, especially if he knocks out his opponents in the way that he does in the later rounds of his fights. If Jones were to take this fight to the ground, he would have to do so the second the horn sounds. Otherwise, it’s possible that Lewis could be able to beat him.
Francis Ngannou: 15-3 (MMA)
With 9 KO/TKO’s, he also carries heavy hands. If Jones were to get hit with them, he would have to recover as soon as possible otherwise he could succumb quicker than later. Ngannou’s favorite boxer was and still is Mike Tyson. If he can take after his idol, he would have to do the one thing that “Iron Mike” would do to his opponents, and that’s strike fear into his opponents instantly. With the intimidation factor instilled in him along with knockout power, he can send Jones to his doom for the first time or by decision if he can land more significant strikes and hang with the #1 pound for pound fighter in MMA.
As, now that Jon Jones has a priority list he may think of going through, let’s see what the powers that be decide for MMA’s top prize fighter and championship material draw as the speculation continues. Good luck to all who look to make this a reality.