UFC superstar Jon Jones has long been one of the best fighters in the world, but the 33-year-old vacated his 205-pound UFC title over the summer to pursue superfights in the heavyweight division. Now, Jones has revealed to Heavy which of the two UFC heavyweights he’s most mentioned alongside, Stipe Miococ or Francis Ngannou, he would rather face for UFC gold in his new weight class next year.
“I would rather fight Stipe,” Jones said.
UFC heavyweight champion Miocic already defeated Ngannou via decision back in January 2018 at UFC 220, but Ngannou has rebounded over the last two years with four-straight first-round knockout wins over top contenders.
So Jones sees Ngannou as a serious threat to Miocic’s hold on divisional gold.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Francis won the rematch,” Jones said. “He’s just training constantly. Stipe is a little more private about his training. I’m sure Stipe is training as well. But Francis’ learning curve seems rather high. His balance and wrestling constantly seem to be improving, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he won.”
Still, Jones sees Miocic as the fighter with the most to lose right now, and that means Jones has more to gain by beating him.
“But I would rather fight Stipe because there’s a lot more to take from him,” Jones said.
Miocic holds the UFC record for most title defenses in the division. Moreover, most people view Miocic as the most decorated UFC heavyweight champion in history.
“He is the greatest heavyweight of all-time,” Jones said.
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Jones Will Be Happy With Either Superfight
Still, Jones said he’ll be good either way things could play out.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC currently plans to pit Miocic against Ngannou in a rematch sometime next year, and Jones would then get first crack at the winner.
“Beating Francis gets you cool points, but I feel like beating Stipe gets you huge legacy points,” Jones said.
Indeed, both Miocic and Ngannou have expressed excitement over the idea of tussling with longtime pound-for-pound king Jones, too.
In fact, Ngannou told Heavy earlier this year his 2021 plan was beating Miocic in the rematch, then welcoming Jones into the heavyweight ranks for his first title defense.
So Jones might prefer getting his hands on Miocic for UFC gold due to what it would do for his personal legacy, but the American said he’ll be ready to do the same thing with Ngannou, too.
“His wish just may be coming true,” Jones said.
Jones Believes Reign at 205 Helped Prepare Him For Heavyweight
Jones believes his long reign as the UFC’s light heavyweight champion is something that will help him capture UFC gold in his new division, too.
According to UFC Record Book, Jones holds the promotional record for most title fight wins at 14. Jones said facing that level of competition is what helped mold him into arguably the top UFC fighter in history.
“There’s nowhere to run in the UFC. We love giving the fans what they want. As a champion, you can’t go anywhere. You’re stuck at the top of the mountain. When these boys climb that mountain, it’s just you and them,” Jones said.
Jones has been cutting his teeth on elite-level competition for over a decade now.
“I’ve been fighting the number one contender since I was 23 years old. I’ve been fighting the scariest dude out there. It’s the only thing I’ve ever known,” Jones said.
That’s exactly how Jones plans to roll into the heavyweight ranks, too.
“So I’ll take that same spirit into the heavyweight division,” Jones said. “I’m getting ready for the scariest dudes out there.”
Jones on Sparring Heavyweights
Jones revealed which part of his MMA game he believes will stick out most against the larger fighters of the heavyweight ranks.
“They’re a little bigger, and a little stronger, but one thing I’ve noticed, it’s hard to keep that pace,” Jones said.
Jones said that’s something he’s noticed during recent training sessions.
“I’ve been doing a little sparring, a little messing around with the heavyweights around Albuquerque, and the common theme is they just can’t go as long as I can,” Jones said.
Jones admits that tussling with bigger fighters is challenging, but that he expects his elite skills to show over time.
“Sometimes they’re bigger than me and stronger than me,” Jones said. “Sometimes I get muscled around in the first round or first few moments, but I just keep my composure and keep coming.”
Jones believes he’s ready for the heavyweight ranks no matter which of the division’s top fighters he faces next.
Whether it’s Miocic, Ngannou, or somebody else, Jones is ready to face the biggest and best competition in his new weight class.
Jones was doing media rounds to help promote boohooMan’s Activewear collection.
Next year, he’ll be doing rounds in the UFC’s stacked heavyweight division.
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