When will we see former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones fight at heavyweight? Apparently, that depends upon when he officially becomes a heavyweight.
UFC president Dana White, following Saturday night’s UFC 255 in Las Vegas, told reporters in the room, including from MMAWeekly.com, that Jones is not officially a heavyweight.
“No, not that I’m aware of. He hasn’t told us,” said White.
Should that lead us all to believe that Jones will be back in the 205-pound division if and when he returns to the Octagon?
No. Not at all.
Why hasn’t Jon Jones booked his UFC heavyweight debut?
Why else would Jones have voluntarily relinquished the UFC light heavyweight championship, all the while saying his intent was to move up to heavyweight?
Some have speculated that maybe he is laying low to avoid drug testing while putting on the weight to make a move to heavyweight feasible. That doesn’t fly either.
According to USADA records, Jones has been drug tested 19 times in 2020, including twice thus far in the fourth quarter, which is comprised of October, November, and December.
So what gives? Simply put, Jones is likely trying to put on the weight necessary to compete in the heavyweight division. Most of the top tier fighters in the division are at the upper end of the scale.
The heavyweight division provides for athletes weighing between 206 and 265 pounds.
Considering his pedigree, Jones would enter the heavyweight pool at the deep end. Current UFC champion Stipe Miocic typically weighs around 245 pounds.
The weight doesn’t drop off with the next few contenders. Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes fight at about 260 pounds, Jairzinho Rozenstruik weighs around 250 pounds, and Derrick Lewis is generally pushing the top-end at 265 pounds.
And keep in mind that these are their weights on weigh-in day. They could way more, considerably more, on fight day.
If Jones doesn’t bulk up, he’s going to be in trouble in today’s heavyweight division. Even though he likely walked around at about 230 pounds at light heavyweight, that is not when he is in prime athletic condition.
If he is going to fight anywhere near the level of the Jon Jones we’ve become accustomed to, Jones will need to add the weight in a fashion that provides for more muscle, more power, and maintains as much of his athletic ability as possible.
That is apparently what he’s been up to, and why he has yet to request a heavyweight fight from UFC officials.
Sure Jones could ask for and receive a heavyweight bout right now, but according to his social media posts, he’s taking the Georges St-Pierre approach.
When St-Pierre was dominating the world at welterweight, he was continually asked when he was going to move up to middleweight. His response was that if and when he did so, he it would likely be a permanent move, as he wanted to do it in a smart fashion. He would take his time to add the weight in incremental fashion.
Bulking for bulk’s sake isn’t the best approach, especially for fighters like St-Pierre and Jones that rely more upon their athletic abilities than a shear love to scrap.
Jones may not be talking to the UFC about his first fight at heavyweight yet, but he has been posting on social media, showing his progress as he continues to put on the pounds in the form of added muscle.
So what’s happening with the UFC light heavyweight title?
What’s next at light heavyweight isn’t exactly clear.
Soon after Jones vacated the UFC light heavyweight championship, Jan Blachowicz fought Dominick Reyes for the vacated title. Blachowicz won.
Shortly after that fight, White said that the UFC was going to make Blachowicz’s first title defense opposite middleweight champion Israel Adesanay, who wanted to move up and challenge him.
The Blachowicz vs. Adesanya fight isn’t a done deal yet, though.
“Israel Adesanya wants to move up and take that fight. So we’ll see how this whole thing plays out. It’s not done yet, but they’re interested and so are we,” White said at the UFC 255 press conference.
In the meantime, Glover Teixeira defeated Thiago Santos earlier this month and injected his name into the mix for a shot at the 205-pound title.
Currently, it is unclear if the UFC will get a deal done for Blachowicz to fight Adesanya or if Teixeira, the No. 1 light heavyweight contender, will get a crack at the belt at 41 years of age.
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