Who should be next in line for a light heavyweight title shot after December’s Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson fight?
Sean Covington, MMATorch Contributor
Yoel Romero! He needs to move up, forget about cutting a bunch of weight and keep even more of his devastating power. I want to see Jon Jones go to the bottom of the division and start all over if he loses. Even if he wins he needs to face new opponents so maybe he should start at the bottom regardless.
Chris Bishop, Columnist – Bishop’s Breakdown
This would depend on who wins the fight in December. The truth is, the UFC light heavyweight division is really thin right now. You have the top three (Gustafsson, Jones and Cormier) but after that, there is a huge drop. If Jon Jones wins the fight, that will give him two wins against Gustafsson. In that case, I think Jan Blachowicz should be the next title contender. He is the #3 ranked challenger and is on a four fight win streak with wins against the #4 and #5 ranked UFC fighters in the division (Latifi and Manuwa). On the other hand, if Gustafsson does pull out a victory and begins the champion, that sets up an exciting third and final fight against Jon Jones.
Frank Hyden, Columnist – The Good the Bad and the Ugly
I think you go with a fight between Anthony Smith and Jan Blachowicz to determine the next contender. Ilir Latifi is also a possibility for that fight. There’s not exactly a huge number of contenders but I think those are the names. I might be overlooking somebody but I think that’s the list. We definitely need some people to step up in the division and hopefully they will.
Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch Managing Editor
There are a few moving parts to this light heavyweight puzzle. The first is the champion, as of the time of this writing, Daniel Cormier. If he plans to move back down to light heavyweight following his heavyweight run, he should have the privilege of skipping the queue seeing that he never lost his title. But if Jones beats Gustafsson, Jones-Cormier 3 at light heavyweight is not so appealing. Jones-Cormier 3 at heavyweight is much more intriguing due to the change in weight class.
If Gustafsson wins, a rematch with Jones makes sense to close out the trilogy. They could also do Cormier-Gustafsson first. Either would be fine. If they need someone outside of this trifecta to put into a championship match, I would suggest Corey Anderson. He’ll do nothing for business but I think his resume has been strong enough where you could justify the title shot. Just the fact that this is the recommendation tells you how thin the light heavyweight division is in UFC right now.