Who is next for UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones?
Jon Jones remained on his throne with a split decision victory over Thiago Santos at UFC 239 just weeks ago. Although closer than many expected, Jones made good on his second title defense of the year. He isn’t done yet, though. Jones went to his social claiming he wants to fight before the year ends.
So, who would you guys like to see me scrap next!? Already focused on December
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) July 8, 2019
If that were true, the contenders of the light heavyweight division would need to get busy in the hopes of making themselves a clear cut title challenger. Many vied for a Santos rematch but with the injuries he sustained, he will be sidelined for the rest of 2019 and possibly beyond. There have been a few names floating around, some more appealing than others. Here is every viable option to be Jon Jones’ next opponent.
Winner of Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic
This would be something. Jones would have to leave the division he has dominated for so long and make a jump to heavyweight. Not out of the ordinary, but Jon Jones not fighting at 205 pounds is a fascinating concept. Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic will rematch each other in August at UFC 241 for the heavyweight title. Cormier’s original plan was to retire on his 40th birthday in March, but now plans have deviated. He will fight Miocic and if he wins, both him and Jones have claimed that they would fight yet again if the money is right. Go to 8:37 in this video to get a better idea.
Now, Jones vs. Cormier 3 is hindering on a monumental roadblock (other than money); Can Cormier beat Miocic yet again? He is the favorite unlike the first go around. If Miocic can right his wrongs and get tback he belt that was once his, Miocic vs. Jones has interest. There was chatter back in March about a potential Miocic vs. Jones bout.
I don’t think you guys are ready to witness @stipemiocic and I, would July give you all enough time?
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 27, 2019
been ready see you there https://t.co/QWV3524xFF
— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) March 27, 2019
Only time will tell with this one.
After Jan Blachowicz knocked out Luke Rockhold at UFC 239, his stock enjoyed a pleasant rise. A rise that could result in him challenging for the light heavyweight belt. Opinions vary on Blachowicz being the next man to share the octagon with Jones. Some believe he does indeed deserve the title shot.
I had rounds 1, 4 & 5 for Santos over JJ. Round 2 & 4 were very close and could have gone either way but what an unreal performance from Santos with a possible ACL injury. Maybe give Jan the next title shot then do the Santos rematch #UFC239
— Kyle (@mhrgylk) July 7, 2019
Jan blachowicz just broke rockholds jaw. For that alone he deserves a title shot haha, plus he’s won 5 of he’s last 6 that loss was from the guy you just beat. Make it happen 🤙.
— niallpower (@niallpower13) July 8, 2019
Others believe Blachowicz isn’t deserving of challenging for the 205 pound strap just yet.
I agree with the first half of your statement. We all have our opinions. If Jan gets the title shot I will be very happy for him. I just don't think he deserves it yet.
— Krzysztof Soszynski (@KSOSufc) July 8, 2019
Winner gets a shot at @JonnyBones
Gives Jon's leg time to recover fully.
Plus you kinds have to earn a shot.
— ✨Míkëyŷ⚡ (@Mikeyy_Oliver) July 16, 2019
If Blachowicz were to fight say Corey Anderson or Dominick Reyes and win, it would be hard to deny him as the next guy in line. Jones wants to fight in December, though, and it is highly unlikely that Blachowicz would be willing to fight twice before the year concludes. With no clear fight to make, Jan Blachowicz may be the one to receive the shot even if he does not fight before December.
This one seems to be controversial. Reyes remains undefeated as a professional at 11-0. He won his last fight against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC London via split decision, but the consensus lies with it being scored incorrectly and that Oezdemir should’ve won. Similar to Blachowicz, many think Reyes needs another win before he fights for the title and a decisive one at that. If Reyes won a contender fight by decision, that would mark three straight decision wins which isn’t so appealing, so a finish win would all but earn him a crack at the title.
Rankings wise, this one is tough to justify. Anderson is currently ranked #8 in the light heavyweight division. Anderson has a single finish win in his last seven victories. He is riding a three fight win streak with victories over Patrick Cummins, Glover Teixeira, and Ilir Latifi. In my most humble opinion, in no world should that warrant a title fight. Now, if Anderson fought and beat a guy like Anthony Smith or Johnny Walker, then it’d be a different conversation. At this point, like so many other light heavyweights, Anderson needs a win against a top dog before he eyes up a title shot.
Although unrealistic for December, this fight is more realistic than people think. Israel Adesanya and Jones are not the best of friends.
Champion Jon Jones (@JonnyBones) has recently offered to help train Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) as he prepares to defend his middleweight title against Israel Adesanya (@stylebender)https://t.co/kynNdIp51N
— PlanetMMA.com (@ThePlanetMMA) June 28, 2019
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 6, 2019
Obviously, Adesanya has his hands full with Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 for the middleweight unification title. If Adesanya beats Whittaker, it is just a matter of time until Jones and Adesanya share a dance. Dana White sure has shared some public interest in it.
Again, this is one that only time will tell, but man would this be fun.
Jones will have a fight booked sooner or later and the speculation can end once and for all once that happens. Until then, let the speculation immense!
Embed from Getty Images