Jon Jones has confirmed that he is looking at fights in the heavyweight division for the year 2020.
Jones’ time atop the light-heavyweight ranks has seen him get the best of three different generations of fighters – beating all comers with a level of flair and finesse that had led many to describe him as the finest mixed martial artist to ever lace up gloves.
Legends, veterans, fan-favourites, and rising prospects, Jones has managed to maintain his run in the face of all of them but now, for perhaps the first time in his career, he finds himself with something of a shortage of contenders.
If there was one criticism that could be levelled at the long-time pound-for-pound king, it has been his apparent hesitation in stepping up in weight to fight as a heavyweight.
Of course, a jump from 205lbs upwards carries with it far more risks than moving up in 10-20lb intervals.
The heavyweight division contains within it fighters who possess a level of punching power so devastating that it can very quickly trump any technical levels of expertise that Jones may bring to the table.
At 205lbs, the lack of that major x-factor does certainly help Jon’s cause but now, with a noticeable lack of exciting contenders breaking through, it does appear as though the legendary champion is ready to make that step up.
Speaking during the official UFC 247 press conference, Jon explained how he had, in fact, attempted to get a fight with Stipe Miocic before the UFC eventually chose to move towards the heavyweight king’s trilogy bout with Daniel Cormier.
“I was trying to get a Stipe Miocic fight. I thought that maybe it would happen but instead, we have Stipe/DC III.
“At the moment, I was so ready to go to heavyweight and stick my fangs into some of those big fellas.”
Heavyweight certainly does offer up several interesting matchups – with the obvious picks coming in the form of the champ Stipe Miocic, his long-time rival Daniel Cormier, and, of course, the in-form powerhouse Francis Ngannou.
As for his abilities as a heavyweight, Jon seemed to have no doubts about his chances – citing a history of training with larger men as something that has filled him with hope.
“After the Thiago Santos fight, I was at a place where I just wanted to start entertaining the heavyweight division.
“I’ve been wrestling with my brothers for my whole life. I’ve been going with Andrei Arlovski, [Alistair] Overeem, all these big guys my whole career – and I’ve always done well.
“At 240lbs I move just as fast as I do at light-heavyweight. My versatility, I realise, is not something that most heavyweights would do. Spinning things, flying knees, things like that.
“I feel really good. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened in 2020.”
Watch the UFC 247 press conference in full below: