If Alistair Overeem isn't able to challenge UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146, don't count on seeing reigning light heavyweight champion Jon Jones taking his spot, according to ESPN.co.uk.
"It's hard to even say because of two factors. First, it would be disrespectful of me to just look past Rashad completely like, 'Oh, this fight's already done,' Jones told PricklyPairStudios. "Rashad is going to be a huge test and I'm excited for this great challenge."
One of the most anticipated fights of the year between Jones and Rashad Evans is less than two weeks away, but it comes before one of the most anticipated cards of the year when UFC 146 features a five-fight main card of all heavyweight bouts.
The main event at UFC 146 might not go down as planned due to Overeem's failed pre-fight drug test, and ideas of who could replace him have everybody talking about several fighters, including Dan Henderson, Mark Hunt, Frank Mir and Jones. Since most of the heavyweights are scheduled to fight on the same card, fans have been looking to other divisions for a possible opponent for JDS.
"Honestly, it is something I would totally entertain," Jones said of a possible move up to heavyweight to challenge JDS. "But at the same time, I have so much respect for Junior dos Santos. He's such a cool dude. He's just such a cool dude. Challenging him out of nowhere would be hitting him upside the head like, 'Where did Jones come from? Why does Jones want to fight me?'"
Dos Santos, who is currently riding an eight-fight win streak in the UFC, won the heavyweight title when he knocked out Cain Velasquez in November.
Jones won the light heavyweight title when he stopped Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128. Since then, the 24-year-old has gone on to stop Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida before finishing up one of the best single years of any mixed martial artist. His next fight will come against a former teammate in Evans at UFC 145.
"I'm not saying he's scared of me, by any means, I'm sure he's not," Jones said. "If it was somebody else, I would definitely go for it. But it's Junior. I don't know, I'm not even a heavyweight so to pick a fight with Junior doesn't really make sense to me. There's a lot of work to be done in the light heavyweight division."