UFC 140 Results: Who Is Left to Face Jon Jones at Light Heavyweight?
Many people have already compared Jon Jones to Anderson Silva, who is widely considered the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world today. Jones currently sits as champion of the light heavyweight division of the UFC with a 15-1 record.
Despite being only 24 years old, he has already accomplished more than many fighters can achieve during their entire careers.
Jones became the light heavyweight champion with a dominating win over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. His first title defense came against the dangerous Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, where Jones systematically controlled the fight, eventually earning a stoppage by rear naked choke.
Then came Jones' second and most recent title defense against a fighter who many fans considered Jones' greatest threat in Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida.
While Jones seemed initially thrown by The Dragon's elusive style, the young champion was able to come back in the second round and open up the challenger with a vicious elbow and eventually put him to sleep via standing guillotine choke.
So the question remains: Who is left to face the champion at light heavyweight in the UFC?
The following is a list of fighters for Jon Jones to face. While they may not be the best in the division, they can still offer some level of competition to the champion. In turn, Jones will grow to the point where he may have to move up the heavyweight ranks.
Some people already feel that is where he truly belongs due to his size.
Rich Franklin always has the heart of a champion and his experience could prove very useful against Jones in a fight. Franklin is a former middleweight champion and has fought against the likes of Vitor Belfort, Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida.
Unfortunately, all of those fights ended with Franklin being knocked out. Not a great matchup against Jones, but one to consider.
Thiago Silva definitely has a history of finishing his fights. That being the case, he has seemed to stumble against greater opposition such as Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida.
His most recent win over Brandon Vera was eventually overturned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after Silva failed a post-fight drug test.
When he comes back from serving his suspension, perhaps he could offer some form of competition to the champion.
Wanderlei Silva (aka "Axe Murderer) is known for knocking out opponents in devastating fashion. Wanderlei, like so many Pride fighters before him, seemed to have trouble when he got to the UFC, sporting only a 4-6 record inside the Octagon.
However, it was at UFC 139 last month that Axe Murderer showed that he can still bang, knocking out Cung Le with vicious knees and punches.
Could he pose a legitimate threat to Jones and his title?
Silva would be at a disadvantage when it comes to size and speed and his willingness to trade with dangerous opponents would most likely get him knocked out by Jones.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs Jon Jones is an intriguing fight on paper, but the Brazilian would have much trouble with his larger opponent. It would be interesting to see if Jones could be the first man to finish "Lil Nog" inside the octagon.
This fight would most likely end by submission, as Jones would use his wrestling to control Nogueira as he has against many other fighters in the division.
We all saw how "Big Nog" paid the price for refusing to tap to Frank Mir at UFC 140. Would "Lil Nog" be the same way?
Forrest Griffin has always been a fan favorite and used to be known for his brawler style. He is a former light heavyweight champion and the original winner of The Ultimate Fighter. Griffin seems to have lost a step or two lately with his most recent loss coming via knockout at the hands of Mauricio Rua back at UFC 134 in Brazil.
Griffin would have to train like never before to take on the likes of Jones, but if he shows up with his A-game and brawls the way that he used to, fans could potentially be in for a Fight of the Night.
In the end, I would still have to swing this one in favor of Jones as he has the speed and stamina necessary to take Griffin into the later rounds.
It could also be a test for Jones, as we have yet to see him go a full five rounds in a fight.
Phil Davis is somewhat of a wild card at this point. Some within the UFC have compared him and Jones. Davis is a great wrestler and is currently undefeated in the UFC and his career.
Davis has yet to really find himself in serious trouble in a fight and has been able to use his high level wrestling to negate his opponents' skills.
While Jones still has the advantage in the striking department, it would be interesting to how he handles the wrestling of Davis. Davis could perhaps hand him the first loss of his career.
Dan Henderson is finally back in the UFC, most recently gaining a decision victory over Mauricio Rua at UFC 139 in what had to be one of the craziest fights in recent memory. Hendo seemed to gas out in the championship rounds, which would definitely hurt him against someone like Jones.
Henderson has never been knocked out and has the ability to not only compete with but seriously push Jones like he hasn't been pushed before.
In the end I think we would see Hendo get submitted on the ground by Jones. His size and strength would just be too much to overcome. Regardless, this is a fight that the UFC should make.
Rashad Evans. How long have we waited for this one? First they were going to fight, then they weren't and it has a been an on again off again ride for both fighters.
Evans' next fight is against another fighter on this list, Phil Davis, at UFC on FOX 2. If Evans gets by Davis, maybe we can finally see the one-time friends and training partners finally settle their differences in the Octagon.
Each fighter only has one loss to their record, although Evans' loss was more pronounced than Jones'. Having both trained together at Greg Jackson's camp for so long, it would make for a great fight.
I personally see Jones coming out on top in this fight, but you can't count out Evans, who may have the key to defeating the current champion.
There you have it. Those are some of the fighters in the light heavyweight division that Jones has yet to face. Not all of them stand a good chance against him, but the purpose of this article was merely food for thought.
Personally I have never really been a fan of Jones, but it is hard to deny that this guy has something special. I think he will be around for a long time as champion and as of right now it is difficult to see anyone dethroning him.
I have a feeling that one day we will see him fighting for the heavyweight title, but until then we will have to see what happens.