Jon Jones is currently in the lab putting on size to make his highly-anticipated Heavyweight debut sometime in 2021. And while UFC President, Dana White, did say “Bones” gets an immediate shot at the title, he will have to wait a bit because Francis Ngannou is the next man up to face division kingpin, Stipe Miocic.
With that rematch not happening until at least March of next year, Jones could be looking at a lengthy wait. That is unless he decides to take another fight in the interim to get a taste of how the big boys bang before he goes for the top dog.
There would be several options for him, too, including the winner of this weekend’s (Nov. 28, 2020) UFC Vegas 15 main event between Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes. And while Blaydes would love nothing more than the chance to mix it up with one of the best to ever do it, a title fight is his first priority. Of course, if UFC wants to book him against Jones, “Razor” will gladly take the fight ... as long as the money is right.
“No, I’m not [fighting Jones],” Blaydes said during a recent interview with Aaron Bronsteter (transcribed by BJPenn.com). “If I win this fight [with Lewis], I want the title shot. I’m not going to be cannon fodder to build up someone else. I’ve already built up myself and I feel like I’ve earned that.
“I feel like I don’t have to take that fight if I don’t need it,” he continued. “That’s a title fight. I’m not fighting Jon Jones to prove that I deserve a Heavyweight title shot, that’s ridiculous.”
Still, with there being a lot of uncertainty surrounding the 265-pound division at the moment, UFC matchmakers could very well flip the script and book Jones against the No. 1 contender to avoid a long layoff. If that duty falls on Blaydes, he says he won’t fight one of the G.O.A.T.’s of mixed martial arts (MMA) for a measly $200,000, saying he wants the big bucks because he can score an average payday fighting any “bum” on the roster.
“We’re talking about money,” Blaydes added. “I’m not going to fight Jon Jones for $200K, that’s ridiculous. I think that a lot of people forget that we get paid what we get paid regardless of who the opponent is. So I don’t need to fight Jon Jones to make my $200K. I can fight a bum and make $200K. If I fight Jon Jones, I want that money.”
Blaydes has been very outspoken about fighter pay, drawing the criticism of White, which only intensified after “Razor” spent the majority of his 25-minute fight against Alexander Volkov smothering him on the ground.
In White’s eyes, a performance like that — although dominant — isn’t indicative of someone deserving a pay raise ... or a title shot.