Jon Jones has been hard at work preparing to make the move to heavyweight but not everyone is impressed with how the UFC star has packed on the pounds leading up to his debut in the new division.
Video and photos started circulating of the larger version of Jones in the gym and the 34-year-old former champ was called out by fans and even some fellow UFC fighters.
“Heavyweight Jon Jones still skips leg day,” one comment read along with a few screen grabs.
It’s been a long journey for Jones, who hasn’t fought in over two years. Some were not happy to see the progress.
“Two fu–ing years for this? Seeing this makes me believe he’s more or less a natural light-heavyweight,” another comment read.
UFC middleweight Paulo Costa, who appears to have an opinion on everything nowadays on social media, also sounded off, poking fun at Jones.
“WOW! fasten your seat belts the MONSTER Jon bones jones is leaving the fast food guys,” Costa wrote.
Jones Willing to Wait for Heavyweight Debut
The UFC is looking to pit Jones against former heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic for his debut in the division, although it will have to wait until later this year. After initially targeting a fight on July 2 at UFC 276, Jones disclosed that Miocic has said he won’t be ready until September.
“Stipe is saying that he will be at his absolute peak in September,” Jones tweeted. “I’m disappointed but patient, I want the heavyweight goat at his absolute best. I’ll wait until September. No excuses.”
It extends the already long comeback trail for Jones, who has clear sights set on getting the heavyweight strap.
“We just want to fight for the heavyweight title,” Jones adviser Richard Schaefer told ESPN. “Jon doesn’t give a s–t against who. As long as it’s for the title. He’s been waiting, he’s been training. He’s mentally and physically ready.”
Francis Ngannou is the current champ but will be out until at least late 2022. Ngannou is also in the midst of a contract dispute with the UFC and his future in the promotion is uncertain.
Many Confident Jones Can Succeed at Heavyweight
Jones has one of the greatest resumes in UFC history, going 26-1 as a pro — the lone loss coming via disqualification in 2009. There’s optimism the dominance he showed as a light-heavyweight can transfer to his new weight class, with former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum backing Jones.
“I’m sure he’s going to do well,” Werdum told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “He’s trained with heavyweights but fighting at light heavyweight – which is very smart. Like Gustafsson, when I fought him, he weighed I think even more than me. But they’re smart, and they get down to light heavyweight to fight and be stronger.”
Chael Sonnen is another believer in Jones at heavyweight, predicting success due to his unparalleled athleticism and history of defying the odds.
“If you tell me that an athlete is going to participate, who is now at a new gym in a completely different state than he resides, I’m going to tell you the outcome isn’t going to be wonderful,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “Jon has all of those things stacked up against him, but the problem is he’s Jon Jones. He’s done a lot of things that nobody else can do.”