UFC superstar Jon Jones appears on just about everyone’s radar for being the greatest MMA fighter of all-time, but the biggest thing missing from the 33-year-old’s resume to date is the fighter moving up in weight to test himself against the bigger and (theoretically) better fighters in the heavyweight division.
Francis Ngannou defeated Stipe Miocic by second-round knockout in the main event of UFC 260 on Saturday night at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Now, the greatest challenge for Jones has finally been revealed in “The Predator”.
Jones wants to be paid for it, of course, but Jones has had his eye on Ngannou for some time now.
In the aftermath of UFC 260, Jones posted, “Show me the money.”
Someone should. Because Ngannou is arguably the scariest fighter in the history of the UFC heavyweight division. He just beat the most decorated champion in heavyweight history, and the 34-year-old did it in dominant fashion.
Now, he’s the biggest, best and scariest challenge for Jones.
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Jones Has Been Tops at 205 Pounds for Over 10 Years
Jones holds numerous records in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. He’s won more fights overall than any other fighter in that division’s history (20). He’s won more title fights than anyone (14). He’s tied with Mauricio Rua for most appearances overall (22).
Jones has been the man at 205.
On top of that, Jones is a statistical legend in the weight class. He’s landed more strikes (1,835) and more significant strikes (1,463) than anyone else in light heavyweight history, and his bottom position percentage (0.2%) and takedown defense (95%) are also unparalleled.
So when peering over the longtime light heavyweight champ’s amazing resume and absurd statistical achievements in the division, the thing that sticks out most is that nothing really sticks out as a possible path toward beating Jones there.
With apologies to those who believe Dominic Reyes deserved the nod last year at UFC 247 in what turned out to be the champ’s last title defense before vacating his belt, Jones has been virtually unbeatable in the division.
He’s never lost a fight. Not really. His lone loss to Matt Hamill in December 2009 came by disqualification in a fight Jones was dominating, and the fighter’s close win last year should be looked at as good evidence that even an off-night by Jones won’t produce a loss for the superstar.
At least not in his division.
But at heavyweight? Against Ngannou? Jones has never competed above 205 pounds, so moving up to challenge for UFC gold vs. Ngannou is the only move that makes sense.
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Jones: ‘I’m Getting Ready for the Scariest Dude Out There’
No matter what problems he’s had outside the cage, the plain truth of the matter is that Jones has been at his best when it matters most.
Jones seems to raise the bar when fights seem close and all the cards are on the table.
He believes his success in the heavyweight division will largely depend on that same kind of thing. Jones told Heavy in December 2020 that he plans on pushing the pace against the larger figures in the heavyweight division.
“I’m getting ready for the scariest dude out there,” Jones said.
But Jones believes he has what it takes to beat anyone in the division. Even Ngannou.
“They’re a little bigger, and a little stronger. But one thing I’ve noticed, it’s hard to keep that pace…I’ve been doing a little sparring, a little messing around with the heavyweights…The common theme is they just can’t go as long as I can,” Jones said.
Capturing Heavyweight Championship Won’t Be Easy Task
Jones believes he’s on his way to becoming the UFC’s next heavyweight champion.
Jones said, “Sometimes they’re bigger than me, stronger than me. Sometimes I get muscled around in the first round or few moments. And I just keep my composure and keep coming. Before you know it…”
Before you know it, Jones says he starts to win those sparring wars at Jackson Wink MMA Academy. But sparring heavyweight MMA stars is one thing, and really fighting Ngannou in the cage is quite another.
Before we all know it, though, Jones will have his chance to prove he sees things the right way.
Jones vs. Ngannou is the biggest and best fight that can be possibly be made in the UFC this year. Jones is arguably the greatest MMA fighter ever, and winning the heavyweight title would potentially remove any doubt over the matter.
Minimally, Jones would become just the eighth fighter in UFC history to capture a world title in more than one division. Things don’t get any bigger or better than that, not even in the UFC.
The Jones vs. Ngannou superfight is the perfect contest for Jones to take next, and it will be challenging enough for the top pound-for-pound talent in the world that he might not actually be able to pull it off.
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