Since Conor McGregor signed with the UFC in 2013, MMA’s premiere promotion has gradually shifted towards more ‘money’ fights, with less emphasis on the pound-for-pound rankings.
Several fighters, including heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and light heavyweight contender Jimi Manuwa, have called for boxing crossover fights in the wake of McGregor’s boxing extravaganza against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Aug. 26.
Current UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, who reclaimed the title against Daniel Cormier last month at UFC 214, called out WWE superstar Brock Lesnar for a heavyweight showdown in the post-fight interview.
‘Bones’, 30, candidly admitted that he was inspired by ‘The Notorious’ on the Jim and Sam Show, telling the hosts that he wants to ‘dare’ and ‘reach higher’.
“It’s a big money fight,” Jones said of the Lesnar fight (h/t Jed Meshew of MMA Fighting). “I think I was inspired by Conor McGregor, to be honest with you. To just dare and to reach, reach higher. Me versus Brock Lesnar is somewhat equivalent to Mayweather and McGregor. A lot of people would assume that I would lose that fight. Brock Lesnar is super athletic. He was a Division I national wrestling champion. Yeah, he’s older but he’s just a freak. He’s a rare talent. I don’t know what the betting odds would be on that one.”
Although Lesnar is currently suspended due to a failed drug test, the former UFC heavyweight champ entertained Jones’ call out and told him to be careful what he wishes for.
Jones, who is widely considered the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, compared his potential fight against Lesnar to ‘David and Goliath’.
“It’s just like, do the impossible. Be the David and Goliath story just the same way McGregor dares to compete against Floyd Mayweather. You know what, if you come up short, at least you have more balls than the average American that even step in there. But if you win, the glory that comes with beating a Floyd Mayweather or beating a Brock Lesnar, it’s huge.”
Right now, due to contract stipulations and the formalities of the six-month USADA testing pool, it’s looking like the earliest date for a potential Jones vs. Lesnar super-fight is next Summer, but Jones is ‘sure’ the fight is going to happen.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen with him, but I know Brock’s a great businessman and I know he knows that this would be huge money. I’m 40 pounds lighter than him so I’m sure that just the thought of being the first person to defeat me has to be running through his mind. And the pay day. So I’m sure the fight is gonna happen. It’s just gonna be a matter of time.”
While Jones considers his next opponent, McGregor will take on Mayweather in a 12-round boxing match on August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.