Jon Jones, widely-considered one of the greatest mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters of all time, wasted three years of his athletic prime sitting on the sidelines. “Bones” is expected to make his eventual comeback in the heavyweight division at some point in early-to-mid 2023 and longtime rival Daniel Cormier predicts the presence of Jones will immediately upgrade the quality of the weight class.
“I think the moment he makes the actual jump into the heavyweight division, it will make the division much funner, it will make the division grow, and it’s already as fun as it’s been in a really long time,” Cormier told MMA on SiriusXM. But just some of the matchups that he could be involved in with Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane and Curtis Blaydes, it makes for an idea of some big time fights.”
Jones, now 35, has been campaigning for a heavyweight title shot against reigning division kingpin Francis Ngannou; however, the recuperating “Predator” remains at odds with the promotion and may not be available when “Bones” makes his heavyweight debut. Matchmakers have a Plan B but Cormier warns that Jones could struggle against some of the bigger athletes at 265 pounds.
“Watching (Sergei) Pavlovich, after watching what he did to Tai Tuivasa and everybody recently, there’s some dangerous fights for him, especially when you look back on his light heavyweight career and see how he struggled at times with bigger guys,” Cormier said. “I think he’ll be fun to add, but I think there’s some big-time matchups in there for him.”
Jones (26-1, 1 NC) appeared to struggle in his final two fights at 205 pounds, registering close decision victories over Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes. The big question surrounding his move to heavyweight is how “Bones” will perform with a larger frame after spending the last few years getting jacked inside the gym. Hopefully we’ll get that answer within the next few months.