On Saturday night, Jon Jones reclaimed the UFC light heavyweight title that he had never lost in a fight when he defeated Daniel Cormier via third-round knockout.
The 30-year-old not only captured UFC gold once again with the victory, but put a stamp on his heated rivalry with Cormier as well. Now that UFC 214 is officially in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to take a look at Jones’ potential next opponents.
You never know in the wacky world of MMA, but the UFC could have another potential superfight on its hands if Lesnar makes another return to the sport. Jones laid the groundwork in his Octagon interview following his victory on Saturday.
“Brock Lesnar: if you want to know what it feels like to get your ass kicked by a guy who weights 40 lbs less than you, meet me in the Octagon.”
It didn’t take long for Lesnar, a former UFC heavyweight champion, to respond to the call-out in a comment to the Associated Press.
“Be careful what you wish for, young man,” Lesnar said.
If all of the conditions can be met to set up a clash between Jones and Lesnar, expect it to happen. The UFC is likely salivating at the thought of a main event that would likely garner 1,000,000 PPV buys.
If Jones-Lesnar doesn’t come to fruition, or the UFC would like to go down an alternative route, Jones-Gustafsson II for the light heavyweight championship would make sense. The new light heavyweight champion took a razor-thin unanimous decision in their first fight in 2013, and Gustafsson is currently the No. 2-ranked light heavyweight.
“The Mauler” has gone 3-2 since his loss to Jones; he has only come up short against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Cormier in a title fight. He holds victories over Jimi Manuwa, Jan Blachowicz and most recently Glover Teixeira in that span.
Gustafsson rekindled the rivalry again on Saturday night following “Bones”‘ second victory over Cormier. Gustafsson responded to Jones’ call-out of Lesnar with a call-out of his own:
@JonnyBones congrats Champ. Stop asking for retired fighters, I've been waiting to put my hands on you and so have all the fans.
— Alexander Gustafsson (@AlexTheMauler) July 30, 2017
A potential dark-horse in the Jones sweepstakes, Oezdemir could very well have punched his ticket to a title shot at UFC 214 when he knocked out the No. 3-ranked Jimi Manuwa in less than a minute.
Manuwa was someone that many fans felt could challenge for the belt regardless of the Jones-Cormier II outcome with a win over Oezdemir. Instead, it was the perpetual underdog Oezdemir who sent shock waves through the MMA world once again. The 27-year-old could have a title challenge in just his fourth UFC bout. Not bad.