UFC: Potential Opponents for Jon Jones

Jon “Bones” Jones made his return to the octagon on December 29th, 2018 after a 17-month hiatus. Taking on Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, Jones dominated the fight from the start. The result, a 3rd round knockout and the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

After Jones’ fight all anyone really wanted to know was, who would he fight next. Since many names are being thrown around let’s look at some of the potential opponents who might be up next.

Daniel Cormier

As of late Jones and Daniel Cormier are two names that just cannot be disassociated from each other. At every available moment, one is asked about the other.

The duo, of course, have faced off on two separate occasions in the past. Jones won both matches by TKO. The first was later reversed to a no contest due to Jones testing positive for an anabolic steroid, Turinabol. Jones went through an arbitration process with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and his original four-year ban from the sport was reduced to 15 months.

The reduction was due in part to his cooperation with the investigation. The result of which showed there was not enough substantial evidence to prove he intentionally took any banned substances. The Rochester native has since passed eight tests leading up to the UFC 214 bout with Cormier with only one failed test.

In Jones absence, Cormier went on to defend the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship as well as move up to capture the Heavyweight title. Those accomplishments helped put Cormier in the number one spot on the 2019 UFC pound for pound rankings. Jones not happy about that, expressed his displeasure on social media calling it the “number one bulls**t”.

A move for Jones up to heavyweight to take on Cormier will solidify his legacy as one of the greatest, if not the greatest UFC competitor of all time should he win and become a two-division champion.

Anthony Smith

On the FS1 UFC 232 Postfight Show after reclaiming the title, Jones spoke with Anthony Smith. Smith currently sits at #3 in the UFC Light Heavyweight division. After some prodding from fellow analyst and former fighter Michael Bisping, Smith asked Jon Jones if he was available in July, hinting at a possible fight.

While not a holder of the most flawless record at 31-13, he would be the next ranked fighter in the division behind Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson. Fighters who Jones has each defeated twice.

Smith has had an impressive 3-fight win streak, in which he finished all three opponents. In the days after the event, Smith even told TMZ Sports that a fight with Jones was in the talks. Results of those talks should materialize one way or another in the upcoming weeks.

Corey Anderson

Corey Anderson is another fighter thats name has been thrown around as a potential opponent forJones. Anderson who also fought on the UFC 232 card, defeated Ilir Latifi to propel himself to the #6 spot in the UFC Light Heavyweight rankings.

Anderson pleaded his case to Jones on Twitter as to why he was more deserving than Smith for a title shot. A back and forth ensued between the two of them.

Sitting at a record of 13-4, Anderson is on a 3-fight win streak. The 29-year-old may, in fact, be the more intriguing up and comer for Jones. At this moment though Anderson’s callout to Jones may have just been that, but it is intriguing nonetheless.

So What’s Next?

If Jon Jones’ performance this past weekend was any indication of where he is in career right now, then he is very much still in his prime. Whomever Jon “Bones” Jones faces next, he will be sure to give the fans their money’s worth with a spectacle of high-level striking. Look for the UFC to ride this hype train of his return, and quickly book and start promoting another high-profile event in the upcoming months.

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