When Jon Jones came up through the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight division, the weight class was the best its ever been. As a result, Jon’s resume is one of the most impressive in mixed martial arts (MMA), taking out a murder’s row of legends and former champions.
Now, the man that made his name by becoming a legend killer after taking out foes such as Mauricio Rua, Rampage Jackson, Vitor Belfort among many others, is now in the position where several up-and comers are looking to do the same at his expense.
And according to Jon’s striking coach, Brandon Gibson, he likes the fact that the roles are reversed.
“I like that there is some fresh blood in the light heavyweight division. When Jon started, it was kind of like the older reign of some of the PRIDE legends. The ‘Shogun’s,’ the Rampage Jackson’s, the Vitor’s; there were so many of these legends for us to chase after,” he said on The MMA Hour. “And now Jon is the legend and these guys are coming up like Johnny Walker and like Thiago Santos. It’s cool to be in this position now."
Indeed, Jones is in a very unique position, as he has taken out all of the older veterans and by looking at the 205-pound landscape, it’s now time to try and do the same with all of the fresh talent.
“Bones” passed his latest last Saturday night (Mar. 2, 2019) by defeating Anthony Smith after five rounds of action at UFC 235 (see it again here). Up next for the 205-pound king will likely be a showdown against another rising contender in Thiago Santos, who has stormed his way into the title picture with three straight knockout wins.
As for the potential matchup, Gibson says Santos won’t bring anything new to the table the team hasn’t seen before.
“(Jon) has fought a lot of brawlers. I consider Anthony Smith a brawler. I think we have fought some very polished MMA boxers with explosive hooks like Rampage Jackson or Shogun. And we’ve fought a lot of polished technical MMA strikers like Gustafsson, like Machida,” he added.
“I think Thiago brings a different kind of power, he’s just not as polished and refined as a Shogun or a Rampage. I think he’s probably a little bit closer to Anthony Smith’s style.”
While Santos does seem to be the front-runner to face Jones next, we can’t rule out this potential “super fight” out just yet.