by Brian Lopez-Benchimol – MMAWeekly.com

Continuing his meteoric rise through the UFC’s 205-pound-division, Jon
Jones will enjoy his first time headlining a fight card when he meets fellow
contender Brandon Vera in what is shaping up to be a pivotal bout for both men’s
careers. The event, UFC on Versus 1, marks the promotion’s first run with a
live event on a national dedicated sports network.


Vera, a former heavyweight turned light heavyweight, has in the past been
where Jones is now, and then some. The glitz, the glam of the UFC’s limelight
can be a daunting task for any young fighter. And while Vera has had his fair
share of ups and downs, he remains a threat, a threat with a name, one who
Jones hopes to add to his already impressive résumé in his less than two years
as a professional mixed martial artist.


“It’s definitely really exciting to get a guy like Brandon Vera,” said Jones while
speaking with MMAWeekly.com


“He’s a tough fighter and he has a really big following. It’s just going
to be great for my career in so many different ways. Ultimately, my goal is to
make it towards the top and I’ve wanted to get that fight with Brandon Vera.
The belt is my dream, so I know beating him is just part of it.”


Vera – having fought the likes of Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia,
Fabricio Werdum, and Keith Jardine – provides Jones’ first true taste of
the upper echelon of fighters. Having dominated fellow light heavyweight
prospect Matt Hamill (though later the bout was ruled a disqualification due to
the use of illegal elbows, swaying the result in Hamill’s favor), the 22-year-old
native of Endicott, N.Y., is looking to continue his rise to the top. In his
way is the Filipino, Vera, who Jones feels fits in his plans to become the


“I’m in this sport to fight the best fighters in the world and he’s a
big part of it, this phase, this chapter in my life,” said Jones while a guest
on MMAWeekly Radio.


“I’m just really excited to fight him. I really have a lot of pride in
my stand-up. It’s a lot better than you see in the actual Octagon. You’ve seen
about maybe 20 percent of the things that I have in my head and things that I’ve
been training.”


While fans and media alike have always been impressed with what Jones
has been able to do in his short amount of time in the sport and with the UFC,
he suggests that there is still a lot more to come. His last two opponents didn’t
allow him to release his full arsenal. But with Vera, Jones is going to be more
then happy to show the other 80 percent that he’s had up his sleeve.


“My last two opponents I fought, Jake O’Brien and Matt Hamill, were both
guys who I had to stay aware of their double-leg (takedown) so it didn’t really
allow me to unleash the type of striking that I wanted to,” said Jones.


“Fighting a guy like Brandon Vera, I know he’s not big on the
double-leg-takedown, so I will just feel a little more free to flow on my feet
and pull the trigger on a lot more things that I’m dying to do.”


here to watch Jon Jones’ UFC on Versus 1 prefight interview with MMAWeekly.com)