Jones vs. Belfort: Power Ranking Jon Jones' Next Five Possible Opponents

Matt Juul@@MattchidaMMAContributor IIISeptember 23, 2012

Jones vs. Belfort: Power Ranking Jon Jones' Next Five Possible Opponents

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    It was a rocky start, but Jon Jones once again rolled over another former champion en route to his fourth straight title defense at UFC 152.

    Surviving the early armbar attempt by the legendary Vitor Belfort, Jones was able to dominate the Brazilian challenger, eventually securing an Americana in the fourth round.

    The champ is likely to take some time off to heal his arm, but when he comes back, he will have a plethora of contenders to take on.

    Let's see how Jones' next five possible opponents stack up.

5. Chael Sonnen

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    Jones may not want this fight, but loudmouth Chael Sonnen has made it his duty over the past month to secure a date with the champ.

    Sonnen nearly got his wish when he offered up his services for UFC 151, but Jones decided to not take the fight, and the event was canceled.

    UFC President Dana White, however, has not ruled Sonnen out of contention yet, but he'll first have to take out Forrest Griffin at UFC 155.

4. Alexander Gustafsson

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    Rising light-heavyweight prospect Alexander Gustafsson is likely a fight or two away from this matchup.

    If Gustafsson beats Shogun Rua later this year, he could skyrocket to the top contender spot, or at the very least become a serious player in the title conversation.

    The Swede has a great skill set, and with his own lengthy reach could become the first person to really test Jones for more than one round.

3. Lyoto Machida

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    Former champ Lyoto Machida was also under consideration for a shot at Jon Jones when Dan Henderson got hurt, but decided to decline the fight, citing the short training time.

    Machida may be a few fights away from this matchup because of UFC President Dana White not being too happy with his decision to not take the fight.

    The karate master is still one of the best 205ers in the game, and was the first person to test Jones standing up when they faced off at UFC 141.  And as we've seen over the past few months, anything can happen in MMA, so he might just get this fight sooner than expected.

2. Shogun Rua

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    Shogun Rua had his title violently ripped from his hands when Jones defeated him at UFC 128.

    Rua has since scored two impressive knockouts over Forrest Griffin and Brandon Vera, and even took home a Fight of the Year honor for his UFC 139 war with Dan Henderson.

    If he can beat Gustafsson later this year, then a rematch might just be in the works for the former champ.

1. Dan Henderson

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    The fight fans want to see next for Jones has to be a bout with former Pride champ Dan Henderson.

    The heavy-handed legend was supposed to face Jones earlier this month at UFC 151, but suffered a knee injury that eventually scrapped the entire event.

    There's no timetable for Henderson's return—or Jones' for that matter—but they should definitely look to finally face off when both men are healed up.

    Even in his 40s, Henderson remains one of the most dominant forces in the light-heavyweight division.

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