UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones is just 12 days away from his 4th title defense, and as a heavy favorite over Dan Henderson it's likely he'll make it another successful one. Because of his already dominant reign over much of the 205 lbs division, there has been plenty of discussion over a potential move to heavyweight, where Jones would not have a significant size advantage over his opposition. In a FUEL TV interview Jones stated his long-term plans, including the much-talked about move to heavyweight (via MMA Weekly):
"I’ve put thought into it and, like I said, not to be cliché, but Dan Henderson is my main priority and focus, but I have a lot of years left in fighting. Coming up to heavyweight is something I’d like to do maybe in the next two or three years," Jones said in a recent Fuel TV interview.
"2013 or 2014; it would be cool."
I'm pretty sure that 2013 is actually next year and not within the "two or three year" range but nonetheless, a move to heavyweight would no doubt be a very exciting addition to a division starved both for prospects and youth. Jones could very well end up fighting taller men like 6'7 Travis Browne or 6'11 Stefan Struve, or giants like Antonio Silva or Shane Carwin who can barely make the 265 lbs limit. Even at heavyweight he'd still have a reach advantage over the entire division. If Jones is successful at heavyweight then (likely) title matchups with one of Junior Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez, or Alistair Overeem could all be potential pay-per-view blockbusters, and becoming a multi-weight class champion would further solidify his place as one of the sport's all-time greats.
From a pure business standpoint, the viability of Jon Jones as a regular PPV draw probably hinges on fighting at heavyweight. His only outstanding draw was against Rashad Evans at 700,000 buys, with everything else doing good, but not great numbers in the 460-520k range. His options at LHW are limited, although if Chael Sonnen defeats Forrest Griffin and continues his trash-talk on Twitter, that could be his next mega-buyrate fight.
SBN coverage of UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson