LAS VEGAS — Jon Jones’ jump to the heavyweight division could happen sooner rather than later, and possibly as early as after his next title defense.
Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, said at a news conference Friday that it was a “very strong possibility” he will move divisions after fighting Dominick Reyes in the main event of UFC 247 on Feb. 8 in Houston.
“I think it’s a very strong possibility — absolutely,” Jones said at a UFC 247 news conference. “Absolutely. There’s always gonna be someone next [at light heavyweight]. I feel as if I’ve cleared the division and I’m waiting around and I’m taking on new challenges. I’m not sitting on the title; I’m not hiding from anybody. I chose Dominick because he appears to be the best out of all of my contenders. And I’m just ready to take over the world, man. Really.”
Jones (25-1, 1 NC), arguably the best MMA fighter of all time, beat Thiago Santos to retain the belt at UFC 239 on July 6. After that, he said he considered moving up to heavyweight and was trying to get a bout with heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Miocic beat Daniel Cormier to regain the UFC heavyweight belt at UFC 241 in August. The third Miocic-Cormier fight is expected for sometime in the first half of 2020.
“After the Thiago Santos fight, I was at a place where I wanted to start entertaining the heavyweight division,” Jones said. “I’ve been wrestling my brother [former NFL offensive lineman Arthur Jones] my whole life. I’ve been [training] with Andrei Arlovski and [Alistair] Overeem and all these big guys my whole career, and I’ve always done well. At 240, I move just as fast as I do at light heavyweight. My versatility I realize is not things most heavyweights would do — spinning things, flying knees. Things like that. I feel really good. I think the timing is gonna be really close. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened [in 2020].”
Reyes, a southpaw slugger from California, is undefeated and ranked No. 4 by ESPN among light heavyweights. Jones said right now he’s walking at 230 pounds with a six-pack, and he’s confident that he’ll not only make 205 pounds but do so while at a physical peak.
“I feel like I’m gonna be bigger than Dominick, just more athletic, more hungry, more out prove, more on the line,” Jones said. “This s— means so much to me. This is my life, dude. I’m gonna get him.”
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