With another impressive win at UFC 172, Jon Jones continues to show why he's one of the best fighters in the world, but now there will be others trying to finally take his light heavyweight title and end his long run as champion.
There was little doubt as to who won the main even at UFC 172 between Jones and Glover Teixeira. Jones completely dominated his opponent, winning by unanimous decision 50-45 after five rounds. The win gave Jones his seventh consecutive light heavyweight title defense, and according to ESPN Stats & Info, that's currently the longest streak among current UFC champions:
Jon Jones won his 7th title defense, the most in UFC light heavyweight history and longest streak among current UFC champions.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 27, 2014
While Jones dominated this fight, he must now look ahead to who he will fight next, so let's take a look at a couple of potential contenders he could be fighting down the road, assuming he continues to win.
Jones may have received most of the attention during UFC 172, but one fighter has suddenly come out of nowhere to become a legitimate title contender after a big fight in the co-main event.
Anthony Johnson headed into his fight against Phil Davis as an underdog, with many expecting Davis to win the fight on the ground. That wasn't the case, however, as Johnson overpowered his opponent and came away with a unanimous decision victory to move to 17-4 with seven straight wins.
It's been a strange journey for Johnson, going from a welterweight fighter to an intimidating light heavyweight, but now he's proven he can hang with the bigger fighters. Many were impressed by his performance on Saturday, including Ben Fowlkes from USA Today:
Big win for Johnson. He dominated Phil Davis. Color me impressed.— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) April 27, 2014
While Johnson does deserve credit for quickly moving up the ranks, he's not the most realistic contender to take on Jones next. He may have to wait a couple more fights, but if Johnson can keep winning he should get a shot at the belt in the near future.
This is the fight that everyone wants to see again.
Before his dominance against Teixeira, Jones fought in arguably the toughest fight of his career against Alexander Gustafsson back in September. Jones ended up winning by unanimous decision but suffered a lot of damage in what was the 2013 Fight of the Year.
According to Dana White via the UFC Twitter account, it looks like fans might be getting the rematch they've been waiting for:
Gustafsson opened up a bit about his eventual rematch against Jones on The MMA Hour on Monday, and he seemed motivated to take Jones down.
"I know that when we fight, I'm going to take that belt," he said. "It's not going to a decision at all. It's going to be a finish."
To make things even more interesting, White has reportedly considered having the Jones-Gustafsson rematch in Sweden, the Mauler's home country, according to Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports:
White said they're definitely thinking Jones-Gustafsson II in Sweden. Said Jones will fight wherever they want him to fight.— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) April 27, 2014
Assuming that this rematch is official, expect another intense battle between two top-tier fighters. Jones has continued to defend his title, but this could be the fight where he eventually slips and loses it.