Should UFC 151 Be Jon Jones' Last 205 Pound Hoorah?Since entering the UFC back in 2008, a unanimous decision win over André Gusmão at UFC 87, Jon Jones has been riding a wave of success few mixed martial artists will ever match.
The sole blemish on his record, a disqualification loss to Matt Hamill at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale, is sandwiched by 10 decisive victories. Wins over Ryan Bader, "Shogun" Rua, "Rampage" Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Rashad Evans, highlight possibly the most dominant stretch in MMA history. Wins over 5 top 10 opponents, 4 top 5 opponents, 4 former UFC light heavyweight champions, and becoming the youngest UFC champion ever will mark Jones' place in history.
His upcoming match with Dan Henderson at UFC 151 may well be the final nail to shut the coffin door and solidify Jones as the greatest light heavyweight fighter ever with a victory.
But all these great accomplishments and wins aside, the big question after UFC 151 has to be: what's next?
The problem with dispatching an entire division's top 5, filled with legends of the sport, is that legit challenges go away very fast. No knock on fighters such as Phil Davis, Alexander Gustafsson, or even Glover Texieria, but with a win over Henderson, Jones has basically cleaned out the UFC's light heavyweight division.
The UFC welterweight division had a similar issue starting in 2008 with champion Georges St. Pierre. Wins over Jon Fitch, B.J. Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck and Jake Shields had the MMA world on fire as to whether GSP should make the jump to middleweight and challenge the 185 pound king, Anderson Silva. An injury to GSP has opened the door more at 170 obviously, with new contenders, and an interim champion, waiting in the wings. The biggest issue with GSP making the move however was always his size. His is a natural welterweight fighter, maybe the most dominant we have ever seen. Adding the 15 pounds needed to make the jump seems easy to some, but it wasn't in the cards for GSP.
But the issues that stopped GSP would not stop Jones. For some time now, Jones has spoken very openly about a possible move to the UFC's heavyweight division in 2013. His UFC 151 match takes place on September 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a victory there would leave the door open for possible another title defense in 2012, but would also leave room for Jones to realize his heavyweight dream and make the jump heading into 2013.
The heavyweight division, while having some very talented fighters, is very top heavy to many MMA fans. Current champion Junior dos Santos and former champion Cain Velasquez appear to sit head and shoulders above all others, save room for Alistair Overeem as well.
One thing the heavyweight division is also lacking is a "brand" name to really sell. Brock Lesnar was the previous ruler of that kingdom, but with this retirement following UFC 141, the division was left in a small state of flux. Fighters like dos Santos, Velasquez, and Overeem all have some name power within the division, but none currently have the marketing and public persona Jones does.
A jump to heavyweight for Jones could easily kill two birds with one stone. It gives the heavyweight division the marquee name the division always needs, and it gives Jones a "fresh" start, a chance to re-invent himself, following his very public arrest recently. No longer would he be the lanky monster at 205 some people view him as.
At heavyweight, physically, he would be just another fighter. Skill wise he may be ahead of others, but to see him fight and beat heavyweight they way he does light heavyweight would surely give his career a slight injection, if only to stop people from saying he only wins at 205 because of his physical gifts.
A move up for Jones would also help the light heavyweight division. As exciting as he is now, people do and will get bored of the same result time after time, which is an issue for fighter such as Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre. At some point, people aren't going to drop 50 bucks to see a result we all expect anyway. Most other matches at 205 in the UFC are toss-ups within the top 10, except for a Jon Jones match. Having a new champion and new energy in fighters, knowing the belt is at least realistic to obtain, would re-invigorate a division held on lockdown now by the 24 year old champion.
And lastly, if Jon Jones is this dominant now following a reported 25-30 pound weight cut to make the 205 limit, what kind of monster could we expect with little to no weight cut, even a bigger version of Jones?
So what do you say Addicts, should Jones entertain the idea of making the jump to heavyweight, or should he sift through the challenges that await him following UFC 151, and let fans hope for the Matt Serra/GSP upset every time he steps into the cage at 205?
Although, a win by Henderson could kill the entire premise of this article.
Published by Jasyn Zangari - Wed, 13 Jun 2012 16:51