It's not so lonely at the top anymore for Jon Jones.
Though he's still the UFC light heavyweight champion and the consensus best fighter in the world today, the 205-pound division has recently become thick with challengers and rivalries for Jones. And the champ has taken notice.
During a media conference call Monday that Jones participated in to discuss his fight with Glover Teixeira Saturday at UFC 172, Jones said he was no longer thinking about a superfight with heavyweight belt-holder Cain Velasquez.
"I have no interest at this point," he said during the call, in which Bleacher Report was a participant. "There’s a lot of talent to test myself against."
That the heavy-handed Teixeira has not lost in more than five years presents an interesting challenge to the champ, but more hype seems to be attached to other potential matchups. A rematch with Alexander Gustafsson, who took Jones the distance before losing a close decision in one of last year's best fights, tops the list.
Daniel Cormier, an Olympic wrestler who is undefeated in pro MMA and recently dropped down a weight class to make a run at 205 pounds, is another name on the list.
Also in the mix is Phil Davis, a national champion wrestler who has been very vocal recently about his desire to face Jones for the belt.
All three potential rivals have, at times, engaged in a bit of trash talk with the champ:
"People are interested in rematch [with Gustafsson]. Phil Davis said he’s going to crumble me like a cookie," Jones said during the call. "There’s a lot of challenges, and I’m ready to meet them."
A host of fans, media members and even Jones himself have expressed interest in Jones vs. Velasquez. Jones has also said as recently as November that he eventually wants to make a permanent home at heavyweight.
While he did not take either of those options completely off the table Monday, it does not seem that a move is still on the front burner given the new possibilities in his current weight class.
Scott Harris writes about MMA and other topics for Bleacher Report and other places. For more, follow Scott on Twitter.
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