Jon Jones at heavyweight has had fans salivating since he relinquished his light-heavyweight title in 2020. Jones solidified his legacy as one of the best fighters in UFC history with his run at light heavyweight. Jones is tied for the most title defences (11) and has the most championship fights in the company.
He is also the youngest fighter ever to win a title in the UFC when he defeated Shogun Rua at the age of 23. However, he has also been stripped of the title three times. Jones’ UFC journey has been storied and controversial. With his return imminent, let’s look deeper at Jones and what he brings to the heavyweight division.
Jon Jones At Heavyweight
Jones first mentioned his intention to fight a division up in 2012. A decade later and his words are now a reality. After a close fight against Dominick Reyes on Feb. 8, 2020, ‘Bones’ stated his desire to face Francis Ngannou in his ultimate attempt to become a two-weight world champion. The fight would never come to fruition as the former light heavyweight kingpin could not come to terms with the UFC in regard to pay.
This would lead to a 37-month layoff for Jones heading into his upcoming Mar. 4 heavyweight title fight against Ciryl Gane. A fight in which he has expressed that he is nervous about, something he was missing at light heavyweight.
“I stopped studying footage as much, it started to feel more like another day at the office,” Jones said on “Unlocking the Cage” with Jimmy Smith. “The fear was gone. I didn’t really fear these guys.”
“I wasn’t happy with my pay, either. I’m stuck fighting guys like [Dominick] Reyes — who had been dreaming of fighting me, probably since college, and [he] was just relatively unknown to the general public,” Jones said. “I just wanted more, I wanted to be nervous again, I wanted to have fear again. I think fear is healthy, and now we’re in this position. The heavyweight division has never been scarier, and I’m glad to be in the middle of it.”
Jones Hopes To Channel GSP
Many wonder if the long layoff and Jones’ lack of heavyweight experience will harm his ability to win this fight. While Jones has cultivated his body over the last three years, strategically adding mass to his frame and increasing his power, the lack of reps could be a big blow. To combat this, Jones must remain confident and not allow himself to be overloaded in an early round. He has proven his willingness to learn and adapt in the past. Gane is potentially the toughest matchup for Jones now that Ngannou is out of the picture
Georges St. Pierre is the perfect man to be a role model for Jones, as he followed a long layoff by becoming a two-weight world champion. St. Pierre beat Michael Bisping to capture middleweight gold after ruling at welterweight for a long time.
Like St. Pierre, Jones is revered as one of the greatest fighters ever. Bones Jones is still only 35, younger than many of the top fighters in the division. He may mitigate some of the ring rust with youth and experience. However, this will be an uphill battle for Jones. This Saturday, many questions will be answered when the “GOAT” steps into the octagon.
Get the latest sports news via Fantom Sports Industries. Follow us on Twitter via @Fantom_sports. Like us on Facebook via Fantom Sports Industries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel via Fantom Sports. Subscribe to our Newsletter! Shop Fantom Sports Industries Merch.
Invest in your favorite athletes like stocks with “Prediction Strike!” Use code FANTOM when you sign up.