Who’s Next for Jon Jones? That’s a Good Question

October 2, 2012
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Jon Jones at UFC 136UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones may be nursing an ailing arm, but it’s giving him some time off as the promotion tries to find the next contender to face him.

Jones defeated Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 by fourth-round submission, but suffered the ill effects of a first-round armbar attempt by the Brazilian. While Belfort didn’t finish the submission, Jones still has the lingering injury that is awaiting a final diagnosis from a doctor.

All signs are pointing towards no major injury, but Jones is resting right now while the rest of the light heavyweight division sorts itself out.

“The arm hurts and he’s waiting for the doctor to see it and give him some news on it. As soon as we get some information, hopefully we’ll be able to share it with everybody,” Jones’ manager Malki Kawa told MMAWeekly Radio recently.

As Jones awaits the final word on his arm, he’s still curious about who he might be facing next. The logical choice would seem to be Dan Henderson, who he was supposed to fight at UFC 151 before Henderson fell off the card due to injury.

But UFC president Dana White has stated that current plans are for Henderson to meet former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida next instead. If that’s the case then it leaves Jones without a clear cut No. 1 contender that would be ready in the next six months.

“Jon actually asked me yesterday, he said ‘who’s next?’ and I was like ‘you know what, I really don’t have the answer either. I don’t know.’ Henderson was the guy. I guess he was the No. 1 contender before all this and then obviously he got hurt,” said Kawa.

“It’s not frustrating. You know what it is? When you fight that much, that frequent, he did fight a lot last year. He took out four guys all top contenders, and then this year he took our Rashad (Evans), who I think is a top five pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He beats him and then he goes off and beats another legend in Vitor. I just think there are going to be some new contenders coming up. There’s going to be that little gap right now and then you’ll see three or four guys be in line.”

The top of the prospect list would appear to be Alexander Gustafsson, who has a chance to solidify his name as a contender when he faces Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC on Fox 5 in early December. There’s also Brazilian phenom Glover Teixeira, but with only his second UFC fight approaching, he would still seem to be a few fights away from challenging somebody like Jon Jones.

For now, Jones’ life will be making sure his arm gets back to 100-percent, and playing the “wait and see” game as the UFC tries to find a viable contender for his return in 2013.

“He kind of cleared it out and now there’s this second wave of guys coming through and it brings up some interesting prospects,” Kawa stated.

When Jones fights next, he will look to tie Tito Ortiz’s record for UFC light heavyweight title defenses, which currently stands at five in a row.

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  • Hammbeez

    Jones vs Fedor. Lol

  • ChristerD

    The Mauler will jab Jones apart!

    But I think UFC is not willing to let him fight jet against Jonas so his win streak will go away!

    But after the December event we will know if UFC is willing to offer Mauler a title shoot!

    • Hammbeez

      If Alexander runs through shogun like thiago or somewhat how Jones ran through shogun they should def do that

      • Anthony Lopez

        I agree. If he can run through Shogun, I don’t see how you can argue him as the next contender

  • stevemcz1

    Jones fights are boring. He takes no chances with the way he is hand picking his opponents. Thats what boxers did and thats why I dont watch boxing. I will take an interest in Jones when Cus D’Amato oh wait I mean Greg Jackson is not calling the shots and Jones starts fighting whoever is put in font of him

    • KBesq

      Honestly, I’m not a fan of Jones anymore, but are you kidding me? He hasn’t ‘picked’ any of his opponents, and he didn’t really pick Vitor. He just turned down Sonnen (which I agree sucked). But to completely dismiss Jones’ fights as boring because he picks his opponents is just a complete mischaracterization. Jones has never picked his opponent, and he’s finished nearly all his fights.

      • stevemcz1

        Actually he stated he is probably going to go to HW rather than fight Machida a second time. That was just before he turned down Sonnen and also from my understanding he has decided to PRE-turndown any LHW that gets to number 1 contender status that he has already fought at LHW! Thats Machida,Shogun,Rashad and Rampage! So if you accept a fight with Jones on short notice and lose ie. Shogun and Machida’s fights with Jones, you may as well leave the division. Hence the reason Sonnen was the only person to step up for UFC 151. So don’t tell me he’s not picking his fights!

        • numpty! He doesn’t pick his fights hahaha

        • Delayed

          Your smoking something with too many chemicals on it. Jones would have fought Sonnen at 152, and he will fight anyone the UFC puts in front of him given the time to prepare. Just BC he is honest about how good Machida is doesn’t mean he won’t fight him… All of your quotes are twisted and untrue.

      • stevemcz11

        Actually Jones stated that he would rather go to HW than fight Machida a second time, That was before he turned down a fight with Sonnen! As well as that he has decided to Pre-tuendown any fighter that reaches number 1 contender status that he has already fought and beaten, ie. Shogun,Machida,Rashad and Rampage. So Shogun and Machida both fight this guy on short notice and then he says hes not fighting somebody twice! So those guys are stuck in limbo as far as i can tell whether they earn shots at the title or not. Hence the reason nobody stepped up at UFC 151 because Jones has decided you get one shot! So dont tell me hes not picking his opponents!

        • saad

          he can say whatever, but in the end of the day, he will fight whomever the UFC wants. There is, after all, no other viable MMA organization in town. I dont like jones much, but i did appreciate the way he fought through an arm bar which 99% of other fighters would have tapped to.

  • dathump

    alot hinges on the next few fights, Jones may have to sit out a round or take a exibition sort of fight at HW against a smaller hw fighter (like schawb or big nog) . and allow the LHW division sort itself out, much like Silva at MW. It will also be a good test to see if jones can do as well against the larger fighters

    • Hammbeez

      I was thinking that when I was jokingly saying Jones vs Fedor (cuz I read in an article a few years back Jones state he’d like to fight Fedor or hendo to test where he’s really at. Again that was years ago ) but yes i think give him a kongo or struve cuz they have the closest reach to him even my boy mark hunt just to see if the great hard hitting kick boxer can tag him n put em out. Jds will lay Jones out Cain might even be too much for em in my opinion. Or just give him Dan henderson I wanted to see that one although machida n Dan piques my interest as well

    • onehitwonder

      i agree, he should play with some kids his own size, Struve & Jones would have some sick reach combo.

  • DatASS

    Silva vs. Jones

    • Hammbeez

      That will definitely work

  • Hammbeez

    Off subject. Anyone heard anything bout my boy wanderlei silvas next opponent

  • BookerT

    No mention of Anderson Silva! WTF!!

    • The way things are currently, I just don’t see this happening any time soon. I think we’ll see Anderson vs. GSP before Anderson vs. Jones. It could happen one day, but I don’t think we’re too close to that point yet; certainly not next for Jon Jones or Anderson Silva.

  • ginstamesa

    the next for jones is anderson silva

  • Rickie

    I agree Gustaffson would be the undisputed number one contender with a victory over Shogun. I dont thinks he stands a chance as wrestlers have given him fits and the Thiago Silva fight was less than impressive. Nevertheless, I would love to see them put that fight together and have Machida/Hendo get the next shot. Then either Phil Davis, Texeira or Prado. I love the idea of Jones fighting a HW. Maybe a Stefan Struve as he is tough but doesnt seem to have a legitimate shot against the upper echelon of the HW division. If Gustaffson gets hurt, Im sure Hendo or Machida wont be ready til May or so, which puts Jones on the shelf for awhile.