Jon Jones is without question the most dominant UFC light heavyweight champion of all time. However, that time may be coming to an end rather soon.

No, Jones isn’t hanging up the gloves. However, he is considering moving a weight class.

Instead of going the normal route of dropping down a weight class, Jones is speculating a move towards the land of the big boys: the heavyweight division. Jones explained at a recent media event his plans about moving up in weight and competing in a superfight sooner rather than later.

“I’ve been really thinking about me and Cain Velasquez going at it,” Jones said. “I think it’ll be huge for the sport.”

Jones explained that he still has some business to take care of at light heavyweight, but did express that he plans on moving up to heavyweight within the next two years. He also doesn’t believe a Jones-Velasquez superfight is too far off the radar.

So it would seem Jones is ready to make the jump to the heavyweight division and is even calling out the best fighter in the division. That would appear to be a good scenario for everyone, right? The light heavyweight division would be blown wide open by Jones’ departure, and the heavyweight division needs some young contenders to add to the ranks.

Well, first let’s examine the positive viewpoints of Jones calling out Velasquez.

It would benefit both divisions and would open the door for a true superfight to finally happen. Rumors of Anderson Silva vs. Jones and Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre have been prevalent for years, but they were never real possibilities. We thought we were going to have a superfight at UFC 163 when Anthony Pettis opted to drop down to featherweight to fight Jose Aldo, but those plans were scrapped by a Pettis injury. Now it seems Jones vs. Velasquez is the last viable option on the table. It’s a fight the UFC desperately needs.

Jones and Velasquez aren’t big draws for pay-per-view buys. Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson topped out at 325,000 buys, Jones vs. Chael Sonnen used The Ultimate Fighter to garner 550,000 pay-per-view buys, and Jones’ biggest event in terms of pay-per-view buys was his grudge match against former training partner Rashad Evans. Velasquez, meanwhile, had his biggest event in terms of pay-per-view buys (outside of UFC 121, which had Brock Lesnar as the main attraction) at UFC 155, where he rematched with Junior dos Santos. Otherwise, Velasquez has failed to top even 400,000 in buys. But a match-up featuring the former light heavyweight champ (let’s assume Jones would relinquish the belt upon his move up) and the current heavyweight champ would undoubtedly sell out any arena in America and provide a hefty payout in terms of pay-per-view money.

Props should also be given to Jones for wanting to move up, rather than down, a weight class and for immediately pegging himself for a match-up with Velasquez. That’s a match-up against a man who manhandled dos Santos twice and left Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva looking like he survived a Saw film. There’s nothing enticing about being locked in a cage with Velasquez, but Jones has the confidence to willingly put himself there. It’d be easy for Jones to say he needs a tune-up fight to see how his body reacts or to spout some other politically correct line. Nobody would think twice. Instead, Jones manned up and called out the champ. You have to respect him for at least that much.

Now, as with any story involving Jones, there’s going to be plenty of negativity and there’s certainly some of it in this story. For one, Jones explaining that he wants to move up to face Velasquez so soon isn’t going to hush the “Jones is scared of Gustafsson” crowd. It also isn’t a wise strategy to move into a new division and face the reigning champion right away. Strangely enough, Jones could actually come in as the bigger fighter, in terms of height and weight, if he were to fight Velasquez. Jones is widely considered to walk around at about 230 pounds, and he’d certainly focus more on strength training in any potential camp leading up to a heavyweight fight, so he could emerge as a much bulkier fighter.

But even if Jones adds some muscle to his lanky frame, I wouldn’t pick him to win a battle of strength with Velasquez. Yes, Velasquez doesn’t look the part of a fighter. He doesn’t have chiseled abs or bulging biceps. But what he does have is what I like to call “functional strength.” He doesn’t look the part of a strong fighter, but anyone who can make other (bigger) heavyweights look like a child’s ragdoll in the Octagon is obviously one strong son of a gun.

Look no further than Frank Mir for the perfect example of how adding muscle doesn’t necessarily translate to an increase in strength. It was after his mauling at the hands of Lesnar at UFC 100 that Mir saw the need for a change. He added a lot of weightlifting to his training and looked like an entirely different fighter post-UFC 100. But as anyone can tell from watching opponents push and hold him against the fence in his recent losses, Mir hasn’t increased his strength in the cage. Being able to lift heavier weights will certainly boost your strength, but knowing how to use that newfound bulk in the cage is an entirely different matter.

Velasquez is an absolute nightmare of a match-up for Jones. We saw what happened when Jones faced someone of similar size when he took on Gustafsson. Sure, equal size wasn’t everything in that match-up and it’d be a crime to claim Gustafsson only found success because he was tall (although the UFC hype machine would think otherwise), but the fact remains that Gustafsson shared similar physical attributes to Jones and had the most success of anyone in the UFC against the light heavyweight champion.

There’s also the fact that Jones was unable to take Gustafsson down in their match-up. Gustafsson will never be confused for a wrestler, whereas Velasquez competed at the NCAA Division I level and is regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the UFC. Outside of a trip or catching Velasquez extremely off-balance, Jones is unlikely to take Velasquez to the mat. And even if he does, if someone as massive and talented in wrestling as Lesnar wasn’t able to hold Velasquez down, why would Jones find success? If Jones doesn’t have his wrestling, he becomes a one-dimensional fighter, and as we all know, one-dimensional fighters rarely have success at the highest level in this sport.

Jones also isn’t noted as a powerful striker, and with Velasquez taking some big shots from the division’s hardest punchers, I don’t envision Jones being able to land a huge knockout blow. Furthermore, will Jones be so willing to throw kicks knowing Velasquez has no issues with charging forward to press him against the fence or get a takedown? Jones hasn’t had to deal with a dominant wrestler in the UFC, and it’d be interesting to see if he’d be so willing to throw those fancy strikes and kicks with the threat of a takedown looming.

The bottom line is that although Jones can be commended for wanting to face a monster like Velasquez right away, it’s a terrible idea to face one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world in a new division. Jones should bump up in weight and have a tune-up fight, but the UFC likely will look to get a possible superfight in the books as soon as possible. The promotion also needs to build these two men as legitimate stars to help replace the inevitable departure of Georges St-Pierre.

The analyst inside me says Jones should take it easy when going up a weight class, but the fan inside me wants to book Jones-Velasquez right now. Luckily for fans worldwide, I believe we’ll finally have the first superfight since GSP-B.J. Penn II. That is, if Jones can defend his title against Glover Teixeira, of course.

Photo: Jon Jones (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.

  • jerry tapia

    Cain take bones to the matt and he done I dont think he win also bones boxing skills are wack all he Gogh ot is spinning elbows and that flying knee ground n pound he got but not like cain he will lose.

  • This punk jones was the greatest till his last fight! No rematch for Alexander what a coward!talk about avoiding fighters! He sounds like Ronda the special olympics idiot! No respect for cowards. Cain vs jones what a lame jones has become a pal.(punk.Ass.Lame)!!!!

  • Adam Monroe

    You niggas are stupid as fuck! Learn proper grammar and spelling before you criticize Jones. First off I’m not a Jones hater by any means, I’m a huge fan and I’ve ordered just about every single one of his fights. I’m also a huge Cain fan as well. These two are my favorite fighters but even I’ll admit that this is a bad match-up for Jones. I don’t think he’ll get wrecked like a lot of others seem to think, but I see Cain winning a unanimous decision or by TKO in the 3rd. Jones will probably hurt Cain at one point in the fight but Cain’s clinch game and dirty boxing will eventually wear down the LHW champ.