After over three years away from the sport, Jon Jones returned to the Octagon back in March to win the UFC Heavyweight title, beating Ciryl Gane in what was his first appearance in the weight division.
That victory at UFC 285 not only ensured Jones became a two-weight world champion, but he jumped to the top of the pound-for-pound list with the UFC. Bones is now adding to his legacy and this is how he can make it even more impressive.
American Stipe Miocic is considered the greatest heavyweight fighter in the history of the UFC. Victory over the two-time champion would be a big result on Jones’ record and it would prove he can have success against the biggest names in the heavyweight division.
Miocic has not fought since losing his belt to Francis Ngannou at UFC 260. As BBC reported, he was knocked out in that fight. The 40-year-old is open to returning to the Octagon if it was the right opportunity. A chance to win the UFC heavyweight title for a third time would be too hard to turn down.
Day by day pic.twitter.com/VjI0HbZvoI
— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) March 14, 2023
Despite his inactivity, Miocic remains third in the heavyweight standings in the UFC. Victory over Stone Cold would help him cement his position at the top of the pound-for-pound list. Some of the fighters inside the top 10 are set to be in action at upcoming UFC events, including Aljamain Sterling. As of May 1st, he is odds-on at -105 with Betway to beat Henry Cejudo at UFC 288 which may be enough to challenge Jones for the top spot in the sport.
Miocic has been successful inside the distance in 15 of his 20 victories. He remains a dangerous operator, with wins coming over Daniel Cormier (twice) and Ngannou in his last five fights.
After six straight victories in the heavyweight division, Russian Sergei Pavlovich’s reputation continues to be enhanced. He is now rated as the third-best heavyweight in his division.
Pavlovich has stopped each of his opponents in the opening round in his stretch of six wins. Derrick Lewis fell victim to his power at UFC 277, he then KO’d Tai Tuivasa, while recently, Yahoo reported he wasted no time in stopping Curtis Blaydes in the early stages of their contest.
A fight with Pavlovich would be a huge test for Jones. He would be facing a fighter who is very dangerous with his punches. The only person to have beaten the Russian so far is Alistair Overeem. The Dutchman caught him with a series of punches in the second round of their fight in 2018.
Pavlovich says he would like to face Bones, but he is happy to wait for that opportunity. His recent victory over Blaydes may have been enough to that earn his first shot at a title. It was the fourth Performance of the Night Award of his career.
Who would like to see me fight this beast boxing rules @ufc gloves?@danawhite @francis_ngannou pic.twitter.com/xONNoT8NzR
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) January 6, 2022
WBC heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury has been linked with the UFC for some time now. When Ngannou was the champion of the brand, their respective parties discussed the prospect of the two men fighting. Now Jones is linked with the Gypsy King.
It is unclear what kind of rules would be involved if Fury were to fight Jones. The most likely scenario would be some form of a hybrid contest. Whatever is agreed, it would be a huge occasion if the two heavyweight champions were to meet either in a ring or Octagon.
Fury will be hoping to unify the heavyweight division in boxing in the near future, but for now, talks with Oleksandr Usyk’s team have broken down. It means a fight with the WBA, IBF, and WBO champion is unlikely to take place any time soon.
UFC would not be the Fury’s first venture away from boxing. In 2019 he competed in WWE, as many other boxers and MMA fighters have done over the years. He faced Braun Strowman at the PPV event Crown Jewel. Fury earned a lot of plaudits for how quickly he picked up the skills needed in the wrestling ring.
Jones’ legacy in the UFC is strong enough that even if he did fight again, he would go down as one of the greatest of all time. However, should he go on to have more success in the heavyweight division, he will strengthen his argument about being the best UFC fighter in history.