UFC 152 Aftermath: Who Gets the Next Shot at Jon 'Bones' Jones?
Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
Is there anybody on the planet that can beat Jon Jones? The UFC’s Light Heavyweight Champion ran through another icon of the sport in Toronto this Saturday night.
Add Vitor Belfort to a list that already includes Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Quentin “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans.
Jones did face his biggest scare early in Round 1 of the five-round championship fight. Belfort caught Jones in an arm bar that looked like it would finish the fight. Jones’ right arm was bent, hyperextended, torn and everything but broken.
Jones told UFC Commentator Joe Rogan, “I was waiting for it to break. I was not going to tap out” (via ESPN).
After this initial scare, Jones controlled Belfort in every aspect of the fight. He basically did whatever he wanted to.
He took “The Phenom” down soon after getting out of the submission attempt and proceeded to batter Belfort with left elbows that tore up the challenger's right eye. The champion's elbows were truly the embodiment of the phrase “over and over and over and over and over, again.”
In Rounds 2 and 3, Jones chopped Belfort down, continually attacking the Brazilian’s lead knee. After mixing in a little more “over and over and over, again,” Jones got side-control and applied an Americana that forced Belfort to tap in the fourth round.
With another name added to his list of barn-yard beatings, Jones seems to have few true challengers remaining. Here are five fights that Jones could participate in, and whether the potential challenger even deserves a shot at the 205-pound champ.
Dan Henderson and His "H-Bomb"
The H-Bomb. Nuff' Said.
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
When it really comes down to it, this was Dan Henderson’s fight.
When Henderson was forced to pull out of his UFC 151 title fight with Jones due to a knee injury, the MMA world missed a great fight that would have revealed a little more about the riddle that is Jon Jones.
Everyone wanted to see if Henderson could land his infamous “H-Bomb,” and it’s not because they have any questions about the power in Hendo’s right hand.
Henderson is a legend in the sport, no doubt. He definitely deserves the title shot he earned, although we have all seen the way Jones has treated legends and former title-holders in the past.
Chael Sonnen after his second loss to Anderson Silva.
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
The self-proclaimed “Oregon Gangster” and “People’s Champ” (or whatever it is he is calling himself now days) would have been Henderson’s replacement at UFC 151.
Asked to take the fight on short notice, Jon Jones refused, which led to the cancellation of the event.
Sonnen has then done what Sonnen does best: talk.
The fact of the matter is: There is no reason why the UFC should give Sonnen this fight. What has he ever done to justify him receiving an automatic title shot at 205 after losing two straight championship bouts at middleweight?
Okay, Sonnen is the man who almost beat the best fighter on the planet.
Sonnen is a great wrestler, but Jones has never been taken down in the UFC. If Sonnen were forced to stand up and trade with Jones, Jones could hit “Oregon’s Gangster” from places even Anderson Silva couldn’t.
Regardless, the UFC is not a popularity contest (at least it shouldn’t be), and as much hype as Sonnen creates with his mouth, he hasn’t proven enough with this fists to deserve a shot at Bones.
Rashad Evans Rematch
Jones defended his belt against Rashad Evans at UFC 145.
Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
Rashad Evans knows Jon Jones better than any opponent the light heavyweight champ could face.
Evans had no doubt that this knowledge would be the key in dethroning Jones, but reality wasn’t so sweet.
Jones beat on Evans for five rounds and retained his title at UFC 145.
Evans is the only man to take Jones the distance since Jones became the UFC's Light Heavyweight Champion, so if any former challenger deserves another shot, it’s Rashad Evans.
Anderson Silva proves why he is the best in the world every time he step in the octagon.
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
I don’t really think this slide needs an explanation. Who doesn’t want to see the two best pound-for-pound fighters in this sport exchange leather?
Silva will be fighting on Jones’ turf at UFC 153 against Stephan Bonner. If a Silva vs. GSP matchup doesn’t come to fruition, a Jones/Silva mega-fight could be a possibility.
It would definitely be the biggest brawl in UFC history.
Heavyweight Champ Junior Dos Santos would be the ultimate challenge for Jones.
Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
Really, what else is there for Jones to do?
All he can do is move on to bigger, stronger opponents.
Though the man has definitely earned a chance to fight for the heavyweight championship, he would probably take the route Anderson Silva has with his jumps to 205.
Jones could choose to fight at heavyweight in a non-title bout to test the water, maybe somebody like Frank Mir. Then, you never know: Dos Santos, Velasquez?
Either way, Jones has the talent to wipe out the heavyweight division as well.
Does any non-contending heavyweight even deserve a chance to fight Jones? Probably not, but it will be a lot more competitive than any challenge left at light heavyweight outside of Henderson or Silva.