Jon Jones says he wants to fight three times in 2019. Book those three fights for him today.
Michael Grocke, MMATorch Fight Handicapper
If Jon Jones takes this run as champion as serious as I hope he does, I don’t see anyone in the light heavyweight division giving him much trouble. That said, Anthony Smith is the next challenger up and while the fight doesn’t blow me away he is a worthy contender. I also want to see Jones complete the trilogy against Daniel Cormier. A lot has been said about whether or not this fight will happen due to Cormier’s statements after Jones won the light heavyweight title. I may be in the minority, but if this fight happens it makes no difference to me if it happens at light heavyweight or heavyweight. Finally, Jones’ third and final fight of 2019 should be against Brock Lesnar.
Cole Henry, Host – MMA Scope Podcast
For the purposes of this question, I’ll just assume that Daniel Cormier follows through with his UFC 232 fight night tweet and agrees to return to light-heavyweight to face Jon Jones. Jones moving up to heavyweight leaves him with far more interesting matchups should he defeat Cormier and continue defending that belt but for now we will stick to light-heavyweight.
1. Daniel Cormier
Daniel Cormier’s status is a bit up in the air right now because while he has stated that he will return to light-heavyweight to face Jon Jones, he has also stated that he would like for his next fight to be against either Brock Lesnar or Stipe Miocic. Assuming Cormier does defend his heavyweight title next it could push Cormier-Jones 3 back a bit but either way, it’s a must that we see the third fight of this trilogy. Cormier-Jones is one of the greatest feuds in MMA history and that’s despite the fact that Jon Jones holds a decisive 2-0 lead when it comes to actual competitive fights. But the fights have just been part of the equation here. The near constant trash talking, plus the fact that Cormier rose to near GOAT status while Jones was on the shelf, and was in a position to talk down at Jones despite the losses makes for a really interesting angle and it makes a third fight interesting even if the first two fights give us a pretty good idea of what the outcome of the third will be.
2. Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith has been an interesting fighter to see rise through the ranks. He was an experienced fighter with an average record (17-9) when he made his initial UFC debut and was quickly defeated by Antonio Braga Neto. He was one and done and just like that Smith was back to fighting on the regional circuit. But after stringing together several wins, he was resigned to the UFC and returned to the middleweight division. A loss to Thiago Santos left Smith feeling like change was necessary and the rest is history. Since moving up to Light-heavyweight, Smith has won three straight fights, all by stoppage and he is now calling for a World Title fight. Smith should be next in line after Cormier, but he could end up with the next shot if Cormier does, in fact, decide to defend his Heavyweight Championship one more time before moving down.
3. Winner of Thiago Santos-Jan Blachowicz
I wanted to choose a prospect here such as Johnny Walker or Dominick Reyes, but they might be better picks for next year if Jones is still champion. Jan Blachowicz has put together an impressive streak as of late but could have issues getting a title fight just because he isn’t exactly the most interesting guy on the roster. Santos is a bit more charismatic and possesses explosive power but even with a win over Blachowicz, he may be a hard sell as a competitive opponent for Jones. One more point is that whoever wins this fight may have to fight at least once more before getting a shot but the winner of this one will probably have a top three or four ranking and at some point, that might mean something.
Sean Covington, Columnist – Covington’s Corner
Jon Jones vs Anthony Smith
The only real choice, after Smith there is Corey Anderson…
I appreciate Anderson calling out Jon Jones, saying he didn’t earn his stripes but Corey Anderson would get chopped down and his fight with Latifi didn’t impress anyone.
Jon Jones vs Yoel Romero
Romero needs to do it because he barely makes weight and he is just gonna stay at number two right behind Robert Whittaker if he doesn’t move up. Romero is a good strong wrestler with devastating one-punch knockout power. Also, Romero’s unorthodox style would cause some problems for Jones to get a good look at him offensively.
Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier at heavyweight
It’s such a stupid move by Cormier, he has nothing to prove. Don’t care to see it but why not if it’s a move to heavyweight for Jones.
Three alternate fights (because it’s UFC and someone will get hurt):
Jon Jones vs Stipe Miocic
Jon Jones put on his track shoes a few times in his fight with Alexander Gustafsson so I’m not sure how he would do against Stipe. I was going to say that Alistair Overeem would before Stipe but they are similar enough in how they would fight Jon Jones.
Jon Jones vs Brock Lesnar
I personally don’t wanna really see this unless Brock destroys him, I am a huge Lesnar dan so all I wanna see is him literally kill Jon Jones and at that wight he would because Jones would probably gas in the later rounds, he would have to put on his track shoes again and keep Brock at a distance but when Brock closed that distance he could do some damage. Jones doesn’t hit as hard as Mark Hunt so I don’t think he’d be too much of a threat to knock Brock out.
Jon Jones vs the winner of Francis Ngannou vs Cain Velasquez
I would love to see Cain outwrestle Jones and make him look bad or a violent knockout.