UFC 165: Jon Jones and 5 Fights That Secure His Legacy
Jon Jones is the man. There's no disputing that.
From his perfected precision to an unfathomable physical demeanor, the pound-for-pound juggernaut has dismantled every light heavyweight in the his path.
But as good as "Bones" is and will presumably continue to be, his career is still relatively young.
Compared to other Octagon legends like Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes, just to name a few, Jones' legacy doesn't necessarily take precedence.
But at 26, and with all the skill in the world, the ever-evolving phenom has the potential to reach that all-time echelon in just a matter of years.
Here's who Jones needs to fight, and beat, in order to do so.
For obvious reasons, the Swede currently resides at the top of the champ's hit list.
Set to do battle this Saturday at UFC 165 in Toronto, Alexander Gustafsson is the newest installment of a challenger for "Bones" to figure out.
Jones has had unbelievable success in the past preparing for a variety of styles—such as Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort—but he's never faced a physically-driven striker in his prime.
Gustafsson not only infuses speed and power when he aims to kill, but his clinch game is borderline impenetrable.
For Jones, a fighter who thrives when he's able to pick his shots and use his size, making "The Mauler" pay early is only going to help his case.
A win would prove that the pound-for-pound king can knock off even the best young talents in the world, which is a group he currently rules.
Apparently Glover Teixeira is next in line for a UFC light heavyweight title shot.
Now, assuming Jones can take care of a very dangerous Gustafsson this weekend, the Brazilian would be the next big-time push by the UFC to challenge the champ for supremacy.
And even though Teixeira hasn't done amazing things inside a division stacked with top contenders, his combination of timely boxing and a naturally strong ground game would give Jones a run for his money.
However, based on speed and skill, Jones is simply on an entirely different level than Teixeira. It probably wouldn't be as close as many people might think, but from what we've seen from Teixeira thus far, he knows how to push the pace and turn up the pressure.
If Jones devours him, is there really anybody left at 205?
To answer the last slide's question, yes, there is.
It's time people give some love to the always consistent and offensively evolving Phil Davis.
The fact of the matter is that Davis possesses two skills that would rival Jones from start to finish: his innate strength and collegiate-level wrestling.
Now, it has become evident that Davis' striking skills are a work in progress, but by the time he challenges Jones for UFC tin, he should have a tighter grasp on his most useful approaches and techniques.
If Jones can keep the fight standing and offset the confining submissions of "Mr. Wonderful," there would truly be nobody left in the division to fight.
Unless of course you believe Gegard Mousasi can make a serious run down the line.
There isn't a single fight fan inhabiting this terrestrial planet that doesn't want to see Jones take on arguably the greatest fighter of all time, Anderson Silva.
Heck, there isn't a single human being in the world that would miss this fight.
It would ultimately mark the clash of two barbaric titans. Two fighters who dominated their divisions for nearly their entire UFC careers. It's a matchup rarely seen in today's MMA and one that would garnish global attention.
Of course, Silva has to rebound in his upcoming championship rematch with Chris Weidman in order to make this bout the hype-machine it was destined to be.
Based on size and overall wrestling skills, Jones would be the odds-on favorite. But you never know, "The Spider" can trap any opponent in his tantalizing web.
Any Heavyweight Title Fight
It has been speculated that Jones has his sights set on the UFC heavyweight division following an inevitable destruction of all worthy contenders at 205.
While three or four more title defenses is nothing to bet on, Jones has more or less checkmated the light heavyweight title scene.
That means he could ultimately decide to pack on muscle, lose a little speed, fight at a more natural weight and aim to dethrone some of the biggest and baddest bruisers around.
Once "Bones" gets there, assuming the UFC gives him an instant shot for No. 1 contender rights, the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world will have his chance to prove that that title is a literal truth.
It's difficult to say how he would fare against a Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos or Daniel Cormier, but it's safe to say he'd make it interesting.
But if Jones did happen to land that heavyweight belt, he'd instantly cement himself as the most prolific fighter of all time.
For more UFC news and coverage, Follow @DHiergesell