Jon Jones says he wants to fight three times in 2019. Book those three fights for him today.
Frank Hyden, Columnist – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The easy one is a fight with UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier. Jones will surely want to goad Cormier into the fight, but it might not come to pass. Another fight would be with Luke Rockhold, who’s moving up to light heavyweight and has the credentials to make an intriguing fight. Anthony Smith is another name that’s very likely to be given consideration. It almost seems a certainty now, with all the talk of a Smith-Jones fight going on.
Rockhold and Smith seem very likely, with the Cormier fight a darkhorse. Another darkhorse type of fight would see Jones fighting Brock Lesnar, especially if Lesnar fights and loses to Cormier himself. The sight of seeing a man as large as Lesnar fight Jones would be enough of a freak-show type of thing to generate interest. The UFC could go this route as they continue to seek money-making fights.
After that, there’s not exactly a long list of names to choose from. You could go with the winner of Jan Blachowicz vs. Thiago Santos in February or Dominick Reyes if he beats Volkan Oezdemir in March. Or have those winners fight each other, then the winner there fights Jones. There’s a lot of possibilities here. They may not all be great but things can’t always work out perfectly.
Christian Moore, MMATorch Contributor
My three fights for Jones go as follows. He fights either Corey Anderson or Anthony Smith in March, probably Anderson since Smith wants the fight in June or July. He wins, then fights Smith, wins again, and we see Jones fight Cormier one final time sometime between October-December.
Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch Managing Editor
There are a lot of moving parts here, but let’s go through this assuming the right people win. Cormier has two losses to Jones and I’m not ready to see it again, so I want to put him aside, at least for now. After Cormier, I feel that Corey Anderson is the rightful number one contender. It’s not a big box office fight by any means, but it would be a good test for Jones and he may earn some street cred with disenfranchised fans by having a quick turnaround and fighting a lesser-known but high-quality fighter.
Jones is one of UFC’s top draws so he should probably be booked on the July card against a big name. This is when I think he should make the move to heavyweight. I’m going to borrow Sean Covington’s suggestion from yesterday and book Jones against the Cain Velasquez-Francis Ngannou winner, preferably Velasquez. On that same card, the long-awaited Cormier-Brock Lesnar fight will also finally happen. A win for Jones over Velasquez and Cormier over Lesnar sets up an obvious but now much more necessary fight at heavyweight to close out the year.
In December I would do Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier at heavyweight. There are reasons for both men not to want this fight, but if Jones fights and defeats Cormier’s teammate Cain Velasquez in the summer, it adds a new layer to an already heated rivalry. Having the fight at heavyweight will give fans a reason to think Cormier can win after to fairly decisive losses.
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This is how I would book things in a perfect world, but this isn’t a perfect world and we’re talking about Jon Jones here so who knows what we end up getting.
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