What seemed to be an inevitability for over a decade, dating back to when Cain Velasquez was UFC Heavyweight Champion, Jon Jones finally made the jump to the 265-pound division last month. And it was well worth the wait. Jonny Bones decimated French contender Cyril Gane inside a round to claim the gold and catapult himself back to the top of the UFC pound-for-pound rankings, as well as cementing his legacy as the greatest MMA fighter that’s ever lived.
Many speculated that Jones didn’t make the step up to heavyweight as it represented a risk for the former light heavyweight champ. He was the undisputed king at 205 pounds and ruled with an iron fist, destroying everything that stood before him. All-time greats such as the aforementioned DC, Alexander Gustafsson (twice), Glover Teixeira, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua.
But as those that play an online live casino will tell you, sometimes you can hit the jackpot when taking a risk. That’s exactly what Jon Jones did when he made the jump to heavyweight, and now he aims to stay on top, just as he did for so long at light heavyweight. But the question now turns to, what’s next for the Albuquerque, New Mexico resident.
Perhaps unluckily for the newly minted champ, the heavyweight division isn’t as stacked as it once was. Gone are fighters such as eternal rival Daniel Cormier, as well as Junior Dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, and the aforementioned Valasquez. But there is one clear number-one contender as of right now, and that man is…
That man is, of course, Stipe Miocic. The seeds are already being sewn for the tear-up and the UFC hinting that the blockbuster heavyweight bout could take place during the culmination of fight week in Las Vegas during the summer. Jon Jones immediately called out the former champion following his victory over Gane for the title at the start of March, with Miocic appearing on camera and mouthing the words “Bring it on b*tch.” And let’s face it, as of right now, there isn’t a big name waiting in the wings to challenge the new champion.
Even without a victory over Jonny Bones, Stipe Miocic will rightfully go down as one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time. No heavyweight summit sitter has defended the gold more times than the Cleveland, Ohio native. He has also defeated a who’s who of heavyweights over the years, including the likes of Daniel Cormier (twice), Francis Ngannou, Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Fabrício Werdum, Andrei Arlovski, and Mark Hunt.
The current champion will enter the bout as a heavy favorite and rightfully show. Jones showed in his victory over Gane that his talent, speed, and power have all managed to move up in weight with him from light heavyweight to heavyweight. Plus, Miocic is now 40 years of age and hasn’t fought since losing the rematch with Ngannou back in March 2021.
Has any heavyweight been on a tear in the heavyweight division quite like Sergei Pavlovich in recent years? The Russian behemoth has won his last five bouts by way of knockout, bouts against the likes of Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis – in his hometown no less. Indeed the 30-year-old Rostov-born fighter could well represent the biggest threat to Jon Jones’ crown. The problem for him is that he doesn’t quite have the name or resume of Miocic, and he may require one more big victory – perhaps against someone like Curtis Blaydes – to secure his spot as the number one contender.
The one blemish on Pavlovich’s record is a knockout loss to Overeem, which came in his UFC debut. Following that shock defeat – a defeat to a man coming off the back of two consecutive losses and three losses in his last five bouts – threatened to derail the previously undefeated Russian. But he has bounced back in style, and he may well find himself squaring off for the UFC Heavyweight Championship sooner rather than later.
Yes, we know, Ngannou has left the UFC after being unable to agree to the terms of a new contract. But is there a fight anyone wants to see more than Jon Jones vs Francis Ngannou? A Conor McGregor return wouldn’t be as anticipated as much as this heavyweight slugfest.
While Jones is keeping busy by defending against the aforementioned Miocic and Pavlovich, Ngannou can fulfill his dreams in the world of boxing and earn a bucket load of money by facing off against WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury. Once The Gypsy King defeats Ngannou – and he will inside the squared circle, as he is a boxer, if you didn’t already know that Francis – then ‘The Predator’ may well return to UFC. And when he does, he should immediately square off with Jonny Bones.
While Jon Jones was on his three-year hiatus, the Cameroonian sensation finally climbed the heavyweight ladder and defeated Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight gold. He then defended his crown against the recently vanquished Ciryl Gane last January, before vacating the belt and leaving the company. For years fans clamored to see Jones vs Ngannou, and those dreams need to become a reality in the not-so-distant future.