There's been a lot of talk of late about the lack of contenders to Jon Jones' light heavyweight title. With Jones already having defeated all of the big names in the division (other than immanent challenger Dan Henderson). Not only have all of the light heavyweights in the main and co main event at UFC on FX 4 this Saturday night been defeated by Jones, but very convincingly and decisively so.
So with a lack of fights at LHW we ask the obvious question, can Jones move in weight to find an exciting fight while waiting for a true contender to emerge? It should go without saying that there's no chance of Jones making middleweight. So, after the jump, we'll look at some of the match ups that could be waiting at heavyweight.Here are the mostly likely suspects, going from highest ranked to lowest.
1. Junior Dos Santos
The reigning UFC heavyweight champion would be a fascinating test for Jones. He would pose by far the biggest threat standing that the light heavyweight has ever seen. At 6 foot 4 inches and around 240 pounds JDS would likely only be marginally bigger than Jones (in heavyweight terms). Although Jones has showed a dynamic and varied striking game it's likely that he would feel most comfortable with JDS on his back, throwing his lethal and soon to be legendary elbows. But could Jones put JDS on his back and keep him there long enough to do damage, or setup a choke? Or would Junior simply wave away Jones' takedown attempts and batter him standing? Who knows, maybe Jon surprises some and uses his more well rounded standup to get the victory.
2. Cain Velasquez
Even though there is normally around a 30lb difference between these two at fight time, Jones would still have a very significant height and reach advantage should the two ever meet. Despite those advantages though, Cain has to be one of the toughest fights our there for double J (or anyone else for that matter). Cain arguably has the ability to put anyone on their back and ground and pound a decision or TKO. Velasquez has also developed a technical and varied standup game. He might not have the Muay Thai of Shogun, who Jones dominated, but he does have a bigger beard and about another 35 pounds behind those punches and kicks.
On word, size. Jones is undoubtedly one of the most technically proficient fighters in the UFC today, but what can he do again the 265 muscle machine that is Alistair Overeem? Ubereem isn't the most technical kickboxer in the world, but he was good enough and big enough to win the 2010 K-1 Grand Prix. This is likely proof of Alistair's likely dominance over anyone in MMA, while standing. Combine that with a great guillotine choke and what do you have? Probably someone Jones should look to avoid until he's fully committed to his new weight class, and has the new muscle mass to prove it.
What does the 6 foot 4, 246lb Brazilian bring to the table other than size? The best jiu jitsu game Jones has ever seen in the cage for one. Werdum has picked up multiple medals over the years in both gi and no gi competition. He is the biggest submission threat of our selection, having submitted the likes of Fedor Emelienenko and Alistair Overeem. On the ground this fight should be an easy outing for Werdum, but that's fighting on paper. On the feet Werdum has recently shown his durability against big hitters the likes of Roy Nelson and Alistair Overeem, so could Jones do enough to command respect?
There's already been talk of a possibly Cormier vs Jones fight at 205, which is more likely than a meeting at heavyweight. Still, for the sake of banter lets assume they could meet at HW. The most interesting aspect of this potential matchup is the fact that Daniel Cormier has the best chance of anyone at the highest level of the sport of putting Jon Jones on his back. Which might be the best place for Daniel to be considering the huge height and reach difference in Jones' favor. Cormier has shown a good technical striking game but it wouldn't be smart for him to engage in a kickboxing match while giving up so much reach. Cormier may well have the speed and definitely has the power to drop anyone in the sport. Lets hope that at whichever weight this is a scrap we can look forward to some time in 2013.
The clue is in the name, well the nickname anyway. Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva is one of the largest heavweights in the sport. Combine that with a solid jiu jitsu game and striking game and you have a fighter well worthy of his place in the top ten rankings. However, the combination of his massive size and lack of UFC exposure make it extremely unlikely the brass will want to put this one together.
Some of you may point to the absence of Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Josh Barnett, or even Fedor. But none of these guys is ever likely to step in the cage with Jones for one reason or another. To pick a fantasy favorite though, a near future fight with Fedor would be not only a huge PPV draw, but also a very low risk high reward fight for the UFC and Jon Jones.
So, should Jones make the step up to heavyweight?