Within the next year, Jon Jones seeks the showdown of all showdowns: a superfight with UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez.
For more than two years, MMA fans have salivated over the possibility of Jones moving up in weight and testing his skills against the behemoths in the heavyweight division. Even Jones himself has hinted that a change in weight class was likely sometime down the road, but he would never pinpoint an exact time frame.
It appears that a plan is finally in motion.
Within the next two years, Jones hopes to make a permanent move to heavyweight, but fans may not have to wait that long to get a sneak peak at his transition.
On Saturday afternoon, Jones told fans at the Gentleman’s Expo, which was attended by MMA Digest, that he would like to test the waters in the heavyweight class within the next year.
But he won’t be looking to fight just any random heavyweight.
Jones is seeking a bout for all the marbles against the heavyweight kingpin himself, Cain Velasquez:
I think that’s going to happen within the next two years. I’ll go up to heavyweight, permanently, but I am looking to take a superfight sooner or later, within the next year. So, yeah I’m excited for it.
I’ve been really thinking about me and Cain Velasquez going at it. It would be huge for the sport. He’s definitely the toughest guy in that division, and he’s not that big, so I think it would a really entertaining fight. Don’t be surprised if you see that sooner or later.
A counterargument could be made that this fairy-tale fight might end up being another wasted pipe dream.
Jones’ current itinerary for 2014 includes a light heavyweight title bout with Glover Teixeira and a possible rematch with Alexander Gustafsson, depending on the outcomes of upcoming bouts.
One has to also figure heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier, who is slated to make his light heavyweight debut next year, will automatically be in the mix for a title shot. Phil Davis and Rashad Evans are waiting in the wings for a shot at Jones as well.
As Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter puts it, there is just too much on Jones’ plate right now to give the go-ahead for a heavyweight superfight:
[Jones] has logical contenders. ... Daniel Cormier is moving down to 205 pounds. He's easily the most interesting challenger for Jones, and he's not even the next contender. That honor goes to Glover Teixeira, who will face Jones at some point in the awakening months of 2014. After that, it could be Gustafsson, or it could be Cormier. Or perhaps Cormier and Gustafsson will square off in a top contender's fight to determine Jones' next challenger. Hell, throw Phil Davis' name in the hat there, too.
There is always the chance that UFC president Dana White steps in and makes the superfight a priority.
The UFC has always hinted at the possibility of doing a show in Cowboys Stadium, and a bout between the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world and the heavyweight champ would make for a colossal main event.
If the fight comes to fruition and Jones’ personal timeline stays intact, his permanent move to heavyweight might actually come within the next year.
It makes little sense for the UFC to let Jones test the waters against the heavyweight champ and then return to the light heavyweight division. The heavyweight title would have to be up for grabs in such a historic and high-profile fight.
If Jones managed to defeat Velasquez, there would be no going back down to 205 pounds.
Superfight talk is quickly becoming the MMA community's favorite pastime, but there is a slight chance that reality might show its face in this newest pipe dream. If Jones and Velasquez continue to win and stay healthy, fans could be on the verge of witnessing the biggest superfight in MMA history by the end of next year or early 2015.