Jon Jones wants to become the UFC’s next heavyweight champion, and the perfect opponent just revealed himself at UFC 265 on Saturday night at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Cyril Gane stopped Derrick Lewis in the third round of the main event of UFC 265 to become the UFC’s interim heavyweight champion. The new champ would make the best opponent for Jones.
While UFC president Dana White has repeatedly said the winner of UFC 265 would get the next crack at UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, the UFC boss also recently stated that Jones could basically pick who he wants to fight next at heavyweight.
Whether that’s Ngannou sometime in 2022, former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, or the new interim champion crowned at UFC 265, the UFC is ready for Jones to come back to its ranks and compete.
All Jones needs is the right dance partner and the right amount of cash. At least half of that is solved after UFC 265.
Gane is the perfect opponent for Jones, and it’s almost the same for everyone else involved in making the fight happen, too.
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Jones Is Attempting Something Difficult
Jones, 34, has been out of action for 18 months now. Perhaps more importantly, Jones has never competed in the heavyweight ranks.
Sure, Jones is the most decorated fighter in UFC history at 205 pounds. Heck, it might actually be more correct to say Jones is the most decorated fighter in UFC history in any weight class.
But winning big fights at the highest level of the sport in your own weight class is one thing. It’s quite another to move up to the next division, and make that double when it’s the one with the biggest and scariest monsters in fighting.
The winner of UFC 265 makes the most sense for Jones because it gives him a way to compete for a heavyweight title without having to jump all the way up to Ngannou.
Look, the task of becoming UFC heavyweight champion was never going to be an easy one, not even for someone with as unblemished a record against top-notch competition as Jones.
But having to do that while the athletic marvel that is Ngannou holds gold is just plain crazy.
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Fight Also Makes Sense for UFC 265 Winner
The fight also makes sense for the winner for Gane.
While Ngannou is becoming one of the most popular fighters in the sport, he’s nowhere close yet to being the same kind of superstar as Jones.
Gane facing Ngannou would give him the biggest spotlight of his career.
Jones is the rare UFC athlete who has both the ability and credibility to be the A-side in any given situation.
Add to it that he’s one of the most polarizing figures in the sport, and you have the best possible outcome when it comes to selling fights.
Lots of people want to see Jones fight. Whether it’s the one half that wants to root for him, or the other that desperately wants to see him lose, people care when Jones fights.
And that means there’s more money to split for the main event.
Unfinished Business for Ngannou?
Come to think about it, the only person that probably wouldn’t think it’s the perfect next fight for Jones would be Ngannou.
After all, Ngannou has wanted to face Jones since last summer, and he wanted to fight Lewis after snagging the belt against Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 in March.
But the UFC went ahead with Lewis vs. Gane for interim gold a month earlier instead because that better fits the company’s plans.
Ngannou wasn’t happy about that, and missing out again wouldn’t help things.
But there’s a perfect solution to all that mess, too.
Miocic is the most decorated UFC heavyweight champ ever. He’s knotted 1-1 with Ngannou, and he’s been vocal about getting back into the cage with him.
So why not just complete the trilogy?
That would give the UFC two more massive events in the heavyweight division, both for portions of the UFC heavyweight championship.
Then, the winners could face each other for all the marbles.
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