Tuivasa is slated to face former interim heavyweight champion, Ciryl Gane, in the headlining bout of UFC Paris, the promotion’s first show in France, on Sep. 3 at Accor Arena. He goes into the bout after racking up a five-fight win streak, including a notable finish of Derrick Lewis in his most recent outing in Feb. at UFC 271. A victory over the division’s top contender would get Tuivasa in the mix of title contention.
Jones is in preparations of going up to heavyweight. If he gets past Gane successfully, Tuivasa has his eyes set on the former light heavyweight champion.
“I’d love to fight him,” Tuivasa told reporters at Thursday’s UFC Paris media day (ht MMA Junkie). “I’ve said it before: This is why I do this. One day when I wrap up this whole fighting gig, I want to say I fought this guy and that guy – the best guys. I don’t want to come out (of the sport) and I didn’t have the opportunity to fight the best. So I’d love to fight Jon, and I’d love to knock his head off, as well. That would be pretty cool.”
Tuivasa Believes Jones Is the Goat but Suggested the Heavyweight Division Is Different
Widely regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, Jones has remained on the sidelines for over two years since his last showing inside the octagon, a razor-think decision win over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in Feb. 2020. Following the result, Jones announced his decision to leave the 205-pound division, which he had been ruling for nearly a decade, in a bid to conquer the 265-pound weight class.
Tuivasa believes Jones is the best ever to step inside the cage but insists the heavyweight division is a totally different beast.
“Jon Jones is the GOAT. He’s one of the greatest to ever fight. We all know this,” Tuivasa said. “But as a heavyweight, no one really knows. I’m sure that he’s still Jon Jones. He’s talented and his skill is great. But heavyweight’s a different kind of league, and we don’t know. We have to wait and see.”
Jones’ Coach Said It Will Be a Shocking Heavyweight Debut
Brandon Gibson, longtime striking coach of Jones, heaped praises on his pupil for his transformation. He shared that Jones had packed on the pounds the right way, and expects fans to be shocked after his debut.
“Believe me, Jon is hitting hard, and he’s so skilled right now,” Gibson said via MMA Junkie. “His skill set’s at an all-time high, and he has so much power and athleticism and stamina on top of it all. I think the fans are going to be really, really shocked and surprised when they see him at heavyweight.”
Having coached some legendary heavyweights from the past, Gibson placed Jones as the best one.
“So, he is hitting extremely hard and extremely accurate and technical, and fast. I’ve trained a lot of amazing heavyweights. I trained (Andrei) Arlovski and (Alistair) Overeem and Frank Mir and Travis Browne, and Jon Jones is more powerful, explosive, creative, dynamic than all of them. So I can’t wait to see Jon make that walk at heavyweight. It’s going to be something truly, truly special, and I’m humbled to be a part of it.”