Jon Jones turned in yet another dominant performance when he shut down Anthony Smith to retain his light heavyweight title at UFC 235 over the weekend. The victory put yet another exclamation point on an MMA career that is destined for the hall of fame, regardless of what happens over the remainder of his years in the Octagon.
With the light heavyweight division essentially cleaned out, Jones can turn his attention to other big money fights. And although he has remained adamant that he’ll stay at the 205-pound division for the foreseeable future, the idea of competing at heavyweight does interest Jones if he ends up getting a fight with Brock Lesnar.
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Jones addressed the possibility earlier in the week, tackling whether a fight with Lesnar or a third fight with Daniel Cormier carried more intrigue for the 31-year-old.
“I take Brock Lesnar because he brings in a whole different audience and people have already seen me make Cormier cry twice,” Jones said. “I’ve got nothing against him. Let him have his heavyweight dominance, but I think me vs. Brock sells more than me and Cormier at heavyweight. That’s a ‘David and Goliath’ fight for real.”
Although he has said he’s content defending his title at 205 pounds, Jones explained that the right amount of money could certainly draw him into the land of the heavyweights.
“Everyone is talking about me going to heavyweight, but I don’t have any issues with my weight cut,” he said. “People are making it seem like it has to happen and the UFC is really good at making things happen that fans want. But what they really need to do is say ‘Hey, Bones, we got some cha-ching for you.’ Conor McGregor taught me a lesson — if you want to see it bad enough, [the UFC] has the money to make it happen.”
The manner in which he dispatched of Smith at UFC 235 suggests that the real challenges for Bones are in a higher weight class. And the opponent who would certainly draw the most eyeballs is Lesnar.
However, UFC President Dana White has other plans for Jones’ next opponent.
“You don’t want to see Thiago Santos fight Jon Jones?” Dana White asked when Lesnar’s name was brought up at the post-fight press conference.
Santos dispatched of Jan Blachowicz with a third-round knockout last week and has run his light-heavyweight winning streak to three with his third consecutive finish since debuting in the division in September.
Like Smith, Santos has a violent style that has put a halt to many opponents. However, he’d certainly enter the fight as a massive underdog. Jones didn’t appear to be too thrilled about the idea of facing Santos next and shrugged him off as a viable threat to his title. But White seems intent on booking Santos as the next title defense for Jones.
“I love the fight with Santos,” White reiterated. “The Brock fight is Cormier’s. Brock has WWE obligations right now or he’d be calling me for the fight with Cormier. I think that Brock and Cormier want that fight. I owe Cormier a lot. Cormier wants that fight, Cormier is going to get it.”
Case closed … for now.