Jon Jones has established himself as the most dominant light heavyweight champion of all time, and for some time many have wondered when the UFC 205-pound champion will move up a weight class to challenge the world’s best heavyweights.
Jones has said before that he fully intends on moving up a division, but he recently said that he has some unfinished business at light heavyweight to take care of. He doesn’t plan on going anywhere before finishing his 205-pound workload.
“I think I have a lot of work to do in the light heavyweight division still,” Jones said at a recent UFC Fight Club Q&A session. “My goals are to beat Glover Teixeira, beat [Alexander] Gustafsson in a rematch, and then beat [Daniel Cormier].”
First up on Jones’ schedule is a date with the Brazilian standout, Teixeira, at UFC 172 in Baltimore on April 26. If he gets passed Teixeira, Jones said fans will want to see him take on Gustafsson in a rematch of their UFC 165 bout that ended in a controversial unanimous decision in favor of the champ. And if he gets through that match, Jones will then likely take on Cormier in a fight that comes with a great deal of bad blood between the two.
The gauntlet of light heavyweights isn’t an easy trek, but Jones said he is more than willing take the ride.
“However it plays out, that’s a hectic schedule,” he said. “Those three guys are on the prowl. I got a lot of work to do in staying where I’m at for sure, but I embrace it. That’s the name of the game.”
Based on previous comments, Jones anticipates competing in these three fight over the next 24 months or so because after that he plans on finally making the move up to the heavyweight division. The plan, Jones said in November, is to gain 10 pounds of muscle and compete at a fighting weight of about 240 pounds.
With a frame like that, Jones said fans shouldn’t be surprised if a match with heavyweight title holder Cain Velasquez is just over the horizon.
“I think that’s going to happen within the next two years. I’ll go up to heavyweight, permanently,” Jones said at an expo last November. “I’ve been really thinking about me and Cain Velasquez going at it. Don’t be surprised if you see that sooner or later.”
It’s rare that you hear a fighter talk about their plans for future opponents, as most typically say they’re focused only on the fight that’s in front of them. For Jones, that fight is Teixeira, but with a sense of loose ends stemming from the Gustafsson fight and previous run-ins with Cormier, it’s tough not to imagine those fights potentially coming to fruition for Jones.
With that, “Bones” prepares for the roughest road he’s traveled so far in his career.
“Right now, I’m preparing to go into probably the toughest schedule I’ve had,” he said. “Any of the next three guys, they’re monsters. That’s what I’m preparing for, just getting through Glover, Gus again, and D.C. That’s my schedule for now.”
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