UFC Champion Jon Jones: Is Jonny Really Too Big to Be a Light Heavyweight?

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UFC Champion Jon Jones: Is Jonny  Really Too Big to Be a Light Heavyweight?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Déjà vu: "The strange sensation that something one is now experiencing has happened before:" 

That's a feeling I've experienced a lot lately, especially in discussions about the UFC Lightweight Champion Jonny "Bones" Jones.

The statement, "Jon Jones is too big to be a Light Heavyweight" seems to get repeated over and over again like a broken record and I think people have come to accept that as fact without bothering to question it.

The notion that Jones is over sized for the 205 lb. weight class and must soon make the transition to the UFC Heavyweight Division seems to be just as universally believed and accepted as the notion that water is wet and that the sun shines. 

Let's be clear about one thing. It's got nothing to do with weight.

Stephan Bonnar, Jake O'Brien, Matt Hamill, Ryan Bader, Shogun Rua and Rampage Jackson were all visibly heavier than Jon Jones on fight night. Most of them were significantly heavier. The rest of Jon's opponents were about the same weight as Jones on fight night. 

Complaints about Jones being too big are entirely focused on Jon Jones' massive 84.5" wingspan, and to a lesser degree, his 6' 4" height.  

Those who dislike Jones see the inevitable transition to heavyweight as his comeuppance for dominating fighters who were smaller than him. No longer will he have such a ridiculous reach advantage over all of his opponents and justice will finally be done.

It all sounds very nice.

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But is it true? 

There is nothing quite like using facts to either uphold or debunk any given theory. How much bigger are the best heavyweights when compared with the best light heavyweights?

 

So here we have the official Bleacher Report Light Heavyweight top 10 rankings

 

Other opponents Jon Jones has faced at 205 lbs. include:

So while Jones is not the tallest light heavyweight, he clearly enjoys a significant reach advantage over everyone in the division's top 10. Phil Davis comes the closest to equaling him with his 79 inch wingspan.  

So what do the heavyweights look like?

Other significant heavyweights who are not ranked currently are:

Note: It should be pointed out, Shane Carwin and Alistair Overeem are not in Bleacher Report's top 10 because they do not qualify. Overeem is currently suspended for steroids, while Carwin has been inactive for over one year.  

Looking over the top 10 heavyweights, the numbers look almost exactly the same. I'm seeing a slight increase in average height and almost exactly the same amount of reach. The closest any of the top 10 heavyweights comes to equaling Jon Jones for reach is Frank Mir with his 79 inch wingspan—exactly the same reach as Phil Davis. 

So if you lay awake at night praying for the day that Jon Jones has to fight somebody who actually has substantially longer reach than he does, I've got bad news for you: That is a day that will never happen.

If you dream of the day when Jon Jones no longer has a reach advantage in every single fight, I'm here to tell you that isn't happening either. 

Jon Jones lopsided reach advantage at light heavyweight will remain just as lopsided if and when he moves up to heavyweight. 

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