With Brock Lesnar receiving positive reviews for his performance against Triple H at SummerSlam, there has been a lot of talk recently about other UFC fighters whom the WWE might be interested in employing at some point. Current Light Heavyweight Champion Jon "Bones" Jones is one name in particular that has been bandied about.
Although there hasn't been any indication that Jones would be interested, he would seem to be a great candidate. Jones, as one of UFC's best pound-for-pound fighters, is extremely popular, and with so much crossover appeal between the WWE and UFC currently, I could definitely see him being a good fit at some point.
Jones obviously isn't comparable to Lesnar since Brock made his name in the WWE initially before joining UFC, but there is a well-documented history of mixed martial artists excelling in professional wrestling. The most obvious is Ken Shamrock, who joined the WWE in 1997 and went on to become a one-time Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion.
Shamrock was one of the best mixed martial artists in the world when he transitioned to professional wrestling at the age of 33, so there is plenty of hope for Jones. The UFC 205-lb. titleholder is only 25 years of age and would seem to have plenty of good years left in mixed martial arts, but wrestling could be an option for him afterwards.
Everyone is different, but top mixed martial artists can remain competitive into their late-30s. I don't anticipate Jones being a guy who hangs around that long since he has thoroughly dominated the competition he has faced, but maybe I'm wrong.
Either way, Jones could compete in UFC for eight more years and still follow the same career path as Shamrock, so there is a lot of potential here. It seems as though the WWE has been making a concerted effort to receive more mainstream attention by bringing back guys like Lesnar who have made a name for themselves in other ventures, so I'm sure the WWE would be interested in someone like Jones.
Like it or not, UFC does seem to have more mainstream appeal than the WWE, and it has everything to do with the fact that UFC utilizes shootfighting, while the WWE is worked. A lot of UFC fans turn their noses up at the WWE because of the notion that it's fake, but if a UFC star like Jones were to make the leap, then the WWE would be reaching totally new demographics.
Truth be told, I feel like an eventual partnership between Jones and the WWE would make a lot of sense for both parties. As I said, the WWE is constantly trying to legitimize itself and broaden its horizons outside its normal fanbase, and securing a UFC superstar would definitely help in that regard.
As for Jones, he has already accomplished pretty much everything in UFC at a young age, so the WWE would present a new challenge. On top of that, you had better believe that Vince McMahon and Co. would offer Jones a good chunk of change to jump ship, just as they did in order to bring Lesnar back into the fold.
The possibility of poaching Jones still probably won't present itself for a few years at least, but Chael Sonnen is a guy the WWE could pursue in the meantime. He may not be an elite UFC fighter like Jones, but he is good friends with WWE Champion CM Punk and his speaking ability is well documented, so he would transition quite smoothly to the WWE.
If the WWE can get a guy like Sonnen, then it will set a precedent that UFC fighters are in play, and it could lead to an agreement with Jones down the line. Professional wrestling is still very much independent from mixed martial arts, but the WWE understands that mixing the two can be successful and has been in the past.
Jones is one of UFC's crown jewels, and it would be a major coup if the WWE could snag him. It all comes down to when and if Jones would be willing to make the move, however.
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