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Alexander Romanov keeping an eye on Jon Jones’ heavyweight run

Alexandr Romanov called out Augusto Sakai after UFC Vegas 53, but it sounds like he’s also really excited to see what Jon Jones can do in the heavyweight division.

Alexandr Romanov made quick work of Chase Sherman at UFC Vegas 53. The undefeated Moldovan talent went three-for-three on takedowns, ran up 1:58 of control time, prevented Sherman from attempting a single strike and claimed a submission victory at 2:11 of the first stanza.

The dominant performance moved Romanov’s record to 16-0 and seems very likely to increase the 31-year-old’s standing in the UFC heavyweight division. As such, the 31-year-old has his sights set on a ranked opponent for his next trip to the Octagon.

“If possible, I want to make my next fight with Augusto Sakai, maybe in July, maybe in August,” Romanov told UFC commentator Michael Bisping following UFC Vegas 53. “No problem. I’m here. I’m ready.”

Heading into Saturday, Romanov—who moved to 5-0 in the world’s largest MMA promotion with his win—was sitting outside the division’s top-15. Sakai is currently holding down the No. 13 spot in the official UFC heavyweight rankings, and seems like a natural enough step forward.

The 30-year-old Brazilian is 15-4-1 overall and riding a three-fight losing skid in the UFC. His most recent setback was a December knockout loss to Tai Tuivasa.

Backstage, after his bout, Romanov discussed his future intentions, the Sakai callout, and took a look at at least one other possible future opponent.

“I have heard that ‘Mr. Bones’ wants to come back in the game,” Romanov said, referencing former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. “This will be very good because he has very good wrestling too and I think this will be a very interesting performance in the UFC.”

The chances of Romanov landing a fight opposite Sakai are much better than landing a date with Jones. It seems as if the UFC is looking to book Jones against ex-UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic later this year in a contest to determine the interim champion while current champion Francis Ngannou rehabs from knee surgery and looks to work out his contractual issues with the promotion.