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Midnight Mania! ‘Bad matchups’ like Francis Ngannou should have kept Jon Jones at Light Heavyweight

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UFC 247: Jones v Reyes Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

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Jon Jones’ move to Heavyweight is one of the biggest changes heading into 2021. “Bones” was the 205-pound champion for a large majority of the 2010s decade, only coughing up the title to controversial drug tests rather than any actual opponent. Now, he’ll immediately dive into the deep end of big man competition, as Jones is likely fighting the winner of Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou in his Heavyweight debut.

For the usually calculated Jones, it appears a risky move. Top Welterweight contender Gilbert Burns took to his YouTube channel to discuss the move, and “Durinho” explained why he sees the transition as a bad idea.

“Jon Jones at heavyweight — me? I don’t like that so much,” Burns said (transcription via Middle Easy). “When you have a guy like Francis Ngannou in the heavyweight division, I don’t know. I don’t see an easy path for Jon Jones in the heavyweight division. Or he has to fight Stipe if he Stipe beats Ngannou, Stipe is fighting Jon Jones. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think Ngannou is going to defeat Stipe and Ngannou will fight Jon Jones. And I don’t like that fight.

“… I don’t like the what if but what if Jon Jones goes against Francis Ngannou and he’s [Ngannou] going to knock him out badly. How about that? What is Jon Jones going to do? First, when you’re undefeated and you lose, it’s very tough. … If you’re champion, champion, undefeated, undisputed and then you lose badly, I don’t know how that’s going to affect you right here [pointing to the head]. I don’t know about Jon Jones’ future. I think he still has a couple of guys to beat at 205. My opinion — he should fight Adesanya. Stay at 205, beat Jan Blachowicz, beat Santos again, another guy.”

However, it’s not just Francis Ngannou and his record-setting punching power that turns Burns off Jones’ move to Heavyweight. Burns also believes a number of other top Heavyweight contenders could give Jones problems.

“I don’t know if it’s just me but there’s a lot of bad matchups for him,” Burns explained. “Curtis Blaydes is a wrestler, good striker, hits very, very hard. Then we got Alistair Overeem, they used to train together and Overeem called him out. What does that mean? If the guy called you out and you used to train together, that’s a little confidence at least.”

Jones is chasing opponents and titles that can really heighten his already incredible resume, but that definitely involves additional risk as well. We’ll have to wait and see if Jones’ gamble pays off with a second title.


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