In the 20-year history of the UFC, no fighter has ever held two title belts simultaneously, or kicked off a championship reign in a second weight class immediately after leaving his original division. If any fighter could accomplish such a feat at this point, it’s Jon Jones, who has already enjoyed a tremendous run at 205 pounds, and has the height and reach to make a move to heavyweight seem credible.
Jones has been considering a hypothetical move to heavyweight since early 2012, but the switch is looking more and more likely as 2014 approaches. While speaking at Gentlemen’s Expo in Toronto over the weekend, Jones voiced his desire for a super-fight against heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez within the next year, followed by a permanent departure from the light-heavyweight division. Here’s what he had to say, via MMAWeekly:
“I think that’s going to happen within the next two years. I’ll go up to heavyweight, permanently,” Jones said. “I’ve been really thinking about me and Cain Velasquez going at it. Don’t be surprised if you see that sooner or later.”
Jones added that he thinks a fight between him and Velasquez will be huge for the sport, and he anticipates taking a “super fight” within the next year.
Velasquez typically tips the scale at roughly 240 pounds, routinely fighting opponents that outweigh him by up to as many as 25 pounds. Jones said he walks around at about 230 pounds, but would pack on some extra muscle to fight Velasquez at a similar weight.
“I would gain about 10 pounds of muscle and compete with him at about 240 [pounds],” Jones said…
“[Velasquez is] definitely the toughest guy in the division,” he said. “He’s not that big, so I think it’ll be a really entertaining fight.”
Already the longest-reigning light-heavyweight champ ever — with six straight title-defenses and counting — a move to heavyweight would be the perfect way for the 26-year-old Jones to give his career a second act. But if Jones has his way, his time at heavyweight will be short, relatively speaking. As he told MMAJunkie, he plans to leave MMA entirely at the age of 30:
“I just want to leave the sport with a good head on my shoulders,” Jones told MMAjunkie. “I don’t want to be one of these guys that are taking fights way past their prime…I want to leave my legacy in a healthy spot. I want my legacy to be respected and I just want to leave on top.”
“I’ve had a lot of doors be opened through MMA and I just feel like there’s a lot of other business out there…I’ve got a little bit more to prove, but I’ve also proven a lot already and there’s no need to do it after 30,” Jones said. “I think I’m a smart enough guy to be able to do a lot of other things.”
In the meantime, Jones has a Spring 2014 title defense against Glover Teixeira to prepare for (date still TBA), which could be followed by a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson down the road, as long as Jones beats Glover and Gus beats Jimi Manuwa. And if Jones wins that fight? Well, he’ll be poised to make history with a super-fight against Cain Velasquez…assuming that Cain is still holding the belt by then. In other words, Jones’s two-year plan has so many moving pieces that it’s almost guaranteed to break down somewhere along the way, and he probably just jinxed a superfight against Velasquez simply by mentioning it. But for now, he’s got our attention.