UFC: 5 Fights for Jon Jones at Heavyweight and How He Would Fare in Each Bout
Jones Jones is the most impressive light heavyweight in UFC history, but does he possess the chops to compete at heavyweight?
In a recent interview, Jones hinted at a late-2013 move to heavyweight, and that makes me absolutely giddy.
I'll be honest: I'm a fan of "Bones." I root for him when he fights. I want him to do well, and I enjoy watching his utter display of dominance inside the Octagon.
At heavyweight though?
Honestly, my enthusiasm for Jones moving to heavyweight is tinged with nervousness.
Start the slideshow to see why.
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This fight will probably never happen if Jones moves to heavyweight, but if the 205-pound champ can't beat a non-top-10 heavyweight like Kongo, what business does he have moving up with the big(ger) boys?
Thankfully for "Bones," Kongo provides a matchup he wins eight times out of 10.
I'm not sure Jones wants to test the striking skills of the French kickboxer, so I expect him to move in and force Kongo into a wrestling match.
With the added bulk from moving to heavyweight, Jones will be a stronger version of his light heavyweight self, and he will have no problem taking Kongo to the mat and securing a quick arm triangle submission.
Prediction: Jones via submission (arm triangle, Round 1)
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Let's move on to a top-10 fighter, shall we?
Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve is a young, well-rounded heavyweight who is only getting better, and his 84-inch reach is one of few that can match Jones' unreasonably lanky frame.
Thankfully, Jones' game plan in this one is not based on power; it is based on technical striking and speed.
Struve has a similar reach and excellent grappling skills, but he is a little too slow, plodding and clumsy to handle Jones' in-and-out, varied striking attack.
To Struve's credit, his chin is excellent, so I do not think Jones will finish him.
Prediction: Jones via unanimous decision
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Well, Jonny 'ole boy, you really got yourself into a fight now.
How can the light heavyweight champion defeat the hulking monster of a man that is the Reem?
Spoiler alert: he can't.
Okay, he can, but he loses this fight seven times out of 10.
Overeem is too strong, too technical and too ferocious for Jones, and this fight would be hard to watch for fans of the 205-pound king.
I know Jones is an excellent striker, but Overeem is a legitimate K-1 kickboxing champion. There is a difference, my friends, and it does not bode well for the Greg Jackson standout.
Expect Jones to look for a takedown early, get stuffed and turn into the most athletic punching bag you have ever seen for the fight's short duration.
Prediction: Overeem via TKO, Round 1
Junior dos Santos
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Back in the day, I created and predicted a fantasy openweight UFC tournament.
Junior dos Santos and Jon Jones met in an early matchup, and Jones was sent crashing to earth courtesy of Junior dos Santos' crushing fists.
Do I still think that matchup plays out in this fashion?
Yes, I do...but only 50 percent of the time.
I think this fight either sees dos Santos score an early knockout (as previously predicted), or it provides a carbon-copy of Cain Velasquez's recent victory over the former heavyweight champ at UFC 155.
Is Jones strong enough to handle dos Santos the way Velasquez did, though?
I'd have to see Jones fight once at heavyweight before making that assertion, but his ability to use leverage and technique to manhandle his opponents to the canvas is absolutely unbelievable, and part of me feels he can take "Cigano" down and end the Brazilian's night.
Velasquez performed almost perfectly at UFC 155, but he failed to finish dos Santos, and I don't think "Bones" would be so kind if presented the advantageous ground positions Velasquez passed up.
I know you guys don't want a "toss up," so I'll go out on a limb with this one.
Prediction: Jones via submission (Round 2)
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Right now, this is the matchup that matters most, isn't it?
Newly minted heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez wrecked Junior dos Santos at UFC 155, and there is no question he is the No. 1 heavyweight in the world right now.
I feel in bulking up to heavyweight, Jones will probably lose a little speed and agility, but I still think he holds the edge in this regard against Velasquez.
Now, Velasquez's striking is criminally underrated in my opinion, but I still think Jones can use his reach and pick Cain apart with kicks and straight punches.
This, however, is a catch-22 for "Bones." He does not want to end up on his back against the heavyweight champion, so kicking is not necessarily the greatest idea—there's no need to make his job easier, after all.
Still, Jones is no slouch in the wrestling department either, and he could potentially hold his own and avoid Cain's attempts to drag him to the ground.
Here's a number for you: 16.
Sixteen times Jones' opponents have attempted to take him down inside the Octagon, 16 times they have failed.
Velasquez, however, is the biggest and arguably most technical wrestler Jones will have faced, so that fact could certainly ruin this perfect run.
I think this fight is more winnable for "Bones" than a matchup with Overeem, but I still think Velasquez uses his incredible strength and wrestling to grind Jones down and eventually pound him out.
Prediction: Velasquez via TKO (Round 3)