Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, will make his first title defense of 2019 when he collides with top contender, Anthony Smith, in the UFC 235 pay-per-view (PPV) main event this Sat. night (March 2) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
First ... and perhaps last.
That’s because “Bones” has run out of things to do at 205 pounds, especially when fertile soil can be tilled in the heavyweight division. Not only can Jones complete his trilogy with Daniel Cormier and become the latest fighter to simultaneously hold belts in two divisions, big-money “super fights” (like this) can make him an even richer man.
“Because things have been going so well, right now it’s about not putting limits on anything and realizing the sky is the limit,” Jones told USA Today as far back as 2012. “Really, I want everything, and I’ve said that since day one. I want to be the best. I want to be a record-holder in everything. I want to be a heavyweight champion and a light heavyweight champion. I want it all.”
No disrespect to Brazilian bruiser Thiago Santos, who is likely the next in line after turning away Jan Blachowicz last weekend in Prague (watch it), but does anyone really want Jones to stick around at light heavyweight just to see if “Marreta” can pull the sword from the proverbial stone?
Here’s what else is doin’ in the light heavyweight Top 10.
1 Daniel Cormier
2 Alexander Gustafsson
3 Anthony Smith
4 Thiago Santos
5 Jan Blachowicz
5 Volkan Oezdemir
7 Corey Anderson
8 Dominick Reyes
9 Ilir Latifi
10 Jimi Manuwa
Honestly, I don’t see any names here that get me excited for a Jones fight.
I’m certainly interested in watching Dominick Reyes compete against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC London, but would a “Devastator” win over the struggling “No Time” warrant a 205-pound title shot? Maybe Santos vs. Reyes for the next crack at the crown would be a better fit, but that might be tough to sell to the Brazilian.
Conversely, let’s look at the heavyweight Top 10.
Champion: Daniel Cormier
1 Stipe Miocic
2 Francis Ngannou
3 Derrick Lewis
4 Curtis Blaydes
5 Alexander Volkov
6 Alistair Overeem
7 Cain Velasquez
8 Junior Dos Santos
9 Aleksei Oleinik
10 Marcin Tybura
I don’t hate any of those fights in the Top 5.
Frankly, the idea of Jones vs. Ngannou gives me goosebumps. Sure, Stipe Miocic was on the table before Jones blew up his UFC 214 drug test, but I’m not sure that has the “wow” factor Jones is looking for. And by “wow” I mean the now belt-less Miocic can’t draw a dime (just ask this guy).
“I respect the champions and the top-ranked guys in the heavyweight division,” Jones previously told John Morgan. “I realize that me, at my current size, the odds would be majorly against me, so it would be about doing it right, doing it with a lot of passion, and having fun with the game. I’ll do it right when that time comes, I’ll give it my all, and I’ll expect to be a winner.”
None of this matters if Jones cannot get past Smith at UFC 235 this weekend in “Sin City.” Not surprisingly, the bookies don’t give “Lionheart” much of a chance when it comes to upsetting the 205-pound apple cart, but they didn’t bet on Matt Serra, either.
See you on Saturday night!