Jon Jones successfully defended his UFC light heavyweight title with a wide decision win over Anthony Smith last night at UFC 235. As soon as he had his hand raised, people were naturally asking who could be next for one of the most dominant fighters in the world. His division isn’t all that deep, after all, and there are no sure-fire challengers in line.
One of the options was for Jones to go to heavyweight and fight Brock Lesnar. But at the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White seemed much more interested in a light heavyweight title defense against a man that has been on an impressive winning streak of late - Thiago Santos.
“I love the Thiago Santos fight. I love that fight. I would love to see him versus Jon Jones.”
Santos (21-6, 13-5 UFC) is on a four-fight winning streak, with the last three coming at 205 pounds. He has stopped Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa, and Jan Blachowicz with strikes all in the last six months, and won three straight performance bonuses for his efforts.
White then reiterated that if Lesnar does come back, he’s facing off with Daniel Cormier:
“The Brock fight is Cormier’s. When Cormier’s healthy, that’s his fight. And plus Brock has WWE obligations right now, or believe me he’d be calling me. So, [the Santos fight] is the fight to make.”
Besides, Jones’ tepid responses to questions about moving up a weight class even got through to White, who noted that he’s not really interested in it:
“He doesn’t seem to excited to go to heavyweight.”
So if Jones is looking to keep up his pace and still wants to fight four times in 2019, you will probably see him in the cage against Santos next.