Jon Jones is undoubtedly the Greatest Light-Heavyweight Champion to ever step foot in the octagon. He is also heralded by many as the Greatest of All-Time, regardless of weight class, again, an accolade that Jones has earned based on his body of work in the octagon and the fact that he is continually evolving into a better fighter almost every time we have seen him fight.
Granted, he has had a couple of close calls. One against Alexander Gustafsson where many felt Jones lost, he didn’t, (but you know what they say about opinions). More recently against Dominick Reyes where Jones won via unanimous decision, but Reyes did test the champ. He didn’t come as close as Gustafsson came to dethroning Jones, but Reyes did give the champ a fight that neither Jones himself or the MMA world as a whole expected. Of course, Reyes wanted an immediate rematch, but he doesn’t actually deserve one. Gustafsson had to work his way back to Jones, and if he didn’t get an immediate opportunity to try and knock Jones off the mountain, then Reyes certainly shouldn’t. Also of note, Jones doesn’t lose rematches. He’s had 2, and in both, he finished his foes in violent fashion to erase any doubt that he is the man! Reyes, in my opinion, would suffer the same fate.
Jones has beaten everyone, and the division he reigns over now just does not have a legitimate contender to face him. The most talked-about possible opponent is Jan Blachowicz who is riding a three-fight winning streak, with two of those wins coming against middleweights that moved up, and shouldn’t have. In other words, Blachowicz by default of lack of truly worthy contenders would be next. There really isn’t a threat to Jones at light-heavyweight, and while there have been a couple of fighters that piqued the curiosity of fight fans like Johnny Walker, he like many before him isn’t on the level of Jones, and seemingly won’t be for a while.
As we all know Jones was recently arrested for various charges in Albuquerque including D.W.I, having an open container, reckless use of a firearm, and failure to provide proof-of-insurance. Many thought that this was the end for Jones who has had troubles in the past and was told by a judge the last time he was dealing with legal issues that if he were to get in more trouble, that he would feel the full extent of available legal consequences. Jones and his legal team were able to work out a plea deal where Jones will not be incarcerated, has to serve a few days of house arrest, will be on probation and his automobiles will all be outfitted with onboard breathalyzers. So long as he follows his plea agreement, Jones will be fine. If the UFC decides to punish him, which there has been no indication that they will, it is not expected to be very severe punishment, so for those hoping, the champ will not be stripped, which would be the only way any other fighter will attain the light heavyweight title.
With nobody to challenge him at light heavyweight, and the rumors over the years, including statements from Jones himself, about moving up and taking over the UFC Heavyweight division, then how about now? It makes a lot of sense at this juncture of his career and his life.
He wants to improve himself as a man and a fighter. Legacy is important to him, and what better way to cement his place as the G.O.A.T and secure the legendary status he covets then by becoming a dominant champion in another weight class? He certainly isn’t going to go down to middleweight, so Jones only has one way to go, and that is up!
Many feel that Jones can be just as dominating against the big boys at heavyweight as he has been as the big boy of the light heavyweight division. He has the height, he has the length. Jones at 6’4 with an 84.5-inch reach and 45-inch leg reach is actually overall bigger than everyone in the heavyweight division today.
He has skills that many of the heavyweights don’t, especially on the ground with jiu-jitsu. Jones would be the most agile and athletic fighter to do work in that weight class. His opponents would not have the same speed as Jones, he would be able to move in and out at will being able to mostly avoid the big punches from his foes and at the same time while we haven’t seen it as much recently, he is powerful and can knock out anyone who stands in front of him, which I think he would need to do so as not to sustain as much damage from the bigger opponents that he isn’t used to in a 3-5 round fight.
Jones is now 32 years old and in his athletic prime. A challenge is needed to keep him focused. The heavyweight division has been in dire need of a star for a long time. Reigning champion Stipe Miocic who holds the record for most successful title defenses at heavyweight is a good fighter, but he does not possess the star power in the way Jones, or even Jones’ biggest rival Daniel Cormier, who is also a heavyweight, does.
The heavyweight champion of the world in any combat sport is always referred to as the baddest man on the planet and while the fighting part is what matters, star power and the ability to garner interest from the current fans, and create new ones is almost equally important. Jones comes with a fan base in tow, and almost as many haters that are waiting for him to get his ass kicked.
Timing, as they say, is everything, and with the light heavyweight division stagnant of a threat to Jones which makes it less entertaining, and the heavyweight division in need of a proven star that can deliver on fight night inside the octagon and outside it as well when it comes to promoting the big fight and putting eyes on the product.
Jones checks all the boxes in what the heavyweight division, which should be heralded as “the division”, needs. The heavyweight division checks all the boxes for what Jones needs. The stars are in alignment, the timing couldn’t be better than it currently is. The time is now for Jones to make the move to heavyweight. The UFC wins, the fans win, Jones wins, everybody wins, ( damn, that last sentence made me feel like Oprah) well everybody except the current heavyweights on the roster.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.